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In Nine Volumes. Crown 8vo. With Maf>s, etc. 
Ten Shillings and Sixpence net each Volume. 


General Editor— ARTHUR HASSALL, M.A. 
Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. 

This Series contains references to and notes upon original and 
other sources of information, thus forming a comprehensive and 
trustworthy account of the general development of European 

Period I.— The Dark Ages. a.d. 476-918. 

By Sir C. W. C. Oman, K.B.E., M.A., LL.D., Late Chichelc 
Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford. 

Period II. — The Empire and the Papacy, a.d. 918-1273. 

By T. F. Tout, M.A., D.Litt., Late Hon. Professor of History in 
the University of Manchester. 

Period III. — The Close of the Middle Ages. a.d. 1273-1494. 

By Sir R. Lodge, M.A., LL.D., Late Professor of History in the 
University of Edinburgh. 

Period IV. — Europe in the 16th Century, a.d. 1494- 1598. 

By A. H. Johnson, M.A., Late Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford. 

Period V.— The Ascendancy of France, a.d. 1598-1715. 

By H. O. Wakeman, M.A., Late Fellow of All Souls' College, 

Period VI. — The Balance of Power, a.d. 17 15-1789. 

By A. Hassall, M.A., Late Student of Christ Church, Oxford. 

Period VII. — Revolutionary Europe, a.d. 1789-1815. 

By H. Morse Stephens, M.A., Late Professor of History at the 
University of California, Berkeley, California, U.S.A. 

Period VIII. — Modern Europe, a.d. 1815-1899. 

By W. Alison Phillips, M.A., Late Lecky Professor of Modern 
History in the University of Dublin. 

Period IX. — Contemporary Europe and Overseas, a.d. 1898- 1920. 
By R. B. Mowat, M.A., Late Professor of History in the University 
of Bristol. 


By H. Morse Stephens, M.A., Late Professor of History at the University 
of California, U.S.A. 

' As a piece of literary workmanship can hardly be surpassed. . . . The 
result is a boon to students, and a serviceable book of reference for the 
general reader.' — Daily News. 

' To say that Mr. Morse Stephens has compiled the best English text-book 
on the subject would be faint praise. '—Journal of Education. 

'The volume contains one of the clearest accounts of the French Revolu 
tion and the rise of the First Napoleon ever written. In fact, it is the work 
of a real historian. The style of the book is strong and picturesque. ' — 
Western Morning News. 

MODERN EUROPE, 1815-1899 

By W. Alison Phillips, M.A., Late Lecky Professor of Modern 
History in the University of Dublin. 

' Remains the most readable general introduction to the history of tht 
19th century, and may be recommended for the period 1815-1876.' — Times. 

1 It has achieved, with a remarkable success, the difficult task of compress- 
ing into a compact space the long history of a time of extraordinary com- 
plications and entanglements ; but — much more important — it has never lost 
vigour and interest throughout the whole survey. . . . The completeness of 
the book is really extraordinary. . . . The book is by far the best and 
handiest account of the international politics of the nineteenth century that 
we possess. . . . Should give Mr. Alison Phillips distinct rank among his- 
torians of the day.' — Literature. 


By R. B. Mow at, M.A., Late Professor of History in the 
University of Bristol. 

' We like the style, the word pictures showing what war meant to the 
under-dog are very ably drawn in modest entertaining English that 6ts the 
subject. The general reader is far more likely to gain a better idea of the 
Great War in its true perspective from this comparatively small book than 
from a great number of military and naval accounts so cram full of intricate 
detail. ' — Education. 

4 Professor Mowat's studies in the history of diplomacy are well known ; 
and in this new text-book he excels in his art of clear statement and rapid 
narrative.' — International Affairs. 

' The value of the book is enhanced by frequent references to and quota- 
tions from original sources. Clear maps and plant, a list of books, and a 
chronological table are added.' — History. 



i 273- i 494 


SIR R. LODGE, M.A., LL.D., Litt.D. 








All Rights Reserved 

OCT 1 6 1959 

Printed in Great Britain 

by T. and A. Constable Ltd., Hopetoun Street, 

Printers to the University of Edinburgh 


The period treated in this volume is one of unique 
interest and significance in the history of Europe. 
Within these two centuries the political and social 
conditions of the so-called Middle Ages came to an 
end, and the states system of Modern Europe took 
its rise. But the importance of the period is more 
than equalled by the almost superhuman difficulty of 
narrating its events in anything like orderly and in- 
telligible sequence. Such unity as had been given 
to Western Europe by the mediaeval Empire and 
Papacy disappeared with the Great Interregnum in the 
middle of the thirteenth century ; and such unity as 
was afterwards supplied by the growth of formal inter- 
national relations cannot be said to begin before the 
invasion of Naples by Charles vin. of France at the 
end of the fifteenth century. In the interval between 
these two dates there is apparent chaos, and only the 
closest attention can detect the germs of future order 
in the midst of the struggle of dying and nascent 
forces. It is easy to find evidence of astounding in- 
tellectual activity and instances of brilliant political 
and military achievement, but the dominant charac- 
teristic of the age is its diversity, and it is hard to 

vi Preface 

find any principle of co-ordination. A cursory glance 
over some of the most striking episodes of the period 
will serve to illustrate the multiplicity of its interests. 
The hundred years' war between England and France ; 
the rise and fall of the House of Burgundy ; the 
struggle of old and new conceptions of ecclesiastical 
polity in the Papal schism, in the Councils of Constance 
and Basel, and in the Hussite movement ; the mar- 
vellous achievements of the republic of Venice, and 
of Florence under both republican and Medicean rule ; 
the revival of art and letters, not only in one or two 
great centres, but in numerous petty states which 
would otherwise be wholly obscure ; the growth and 
decline of unique corporations, such as the Hanseatic 
League and the Teutonic Order ; the extension and 
gradual union of the Christian states of Spain at the 
expense of Mohammedanism, and at the same time 
the gloomy story of the conquest of the Eastern 
Empire by the Turks ; — all these episodes might well 
be treated in a volume apiece, but it is difficult to 
arrange them within the compass of a book which 
should deal with the general development of Europe. 
No doubt it may be held that some of these events are 
of more permanent importance than others, and that 
the essential fact to grasp in the period is the rise 
of great and coherent states like France, Spain, and 
England. But it is equally true that the important 
events are unintelligible without some knowledge of 
the less important events with which they are con- 
nected ; that in this period Germany and Italy are 

Preface vif 

more prominent than Spain and England, or even 
than France ; and that Germany and Italy are not 
coherent states at all. The former is a bundle of states, 
and the latter can hardly be said to be as much. And 
it may be urged with some force that German history 
in the fourteenth century cannot be studied without 
some attention being paid to Poland, Hungary, and 
Denmark ; that the history of Venice and Florence 
cannot be isolated from that of Genoa and Pisa ; and 
that even in tracing the growth of states which achieved 
some measure of unity it is necessary to note the 
absorption of the formerly distinct and independent 

I have stated the difficulty, which is indeed suffi- 
ciently obvious, but I cannot claim to have found 
a thoroughly satisfactory solution. My endeavour 
has been to make the narrative as clear and intel- 
ligible as the conflicting needs of conciseness and of 
frequent transitions will admit. I may perhaps point 
out to my readers that in an age in which dynastic 
interests and claims become of greater and greater 
importance, in which royal marriages are a prominent 
factor in international politics and vitally affect the 
growth of the greatest states, a careful study of gene- 
alogy is imperatively necessary. This will explain 
and justify the insertion of a number of genealogical 
tables in the Appendix, which the student of the 
period may find not the least useful part of the 

V0lume ' <t. LODGE. 




Bibliographical Notb, ...... x 

Chronological Table, xii 

I. Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum, 

1273-1313, * 

II. Italy and the Papacy, 1273-1313, .... 20 

III. France under the later Capets, 1270- 1328, . 43 

IV. France under the earlv Valois, 1328-1380, . 66 
V. Lewis the Bavarian and the Avignon Popes, 

I3i4-i347> 98 

VI. Charles iv. and the Golden Bull, ... 109 

VII. Rise of the Swiss Confederation, . . . .124 

VIII. Italy in the Fourteenth Century, 1313-1402, . 139 

IX. The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire, i 378-1414, 182 

X. The Hussite Movement and the Council of 

Constance, 1409- 1418, 206 

XI. The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel, 

1419-1449, 222 

XII. Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century, 

1402-1494, 243 

XIII. Naples and the Papal States in the Fitfeenth 

Century 265 

XIV. Florence under the Medici 288 


XVI. Revival of the French Monarchy, 1435- 1494, . 349 

XVII. Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors, 1437- 1493, 394 
XVIII. The Hanseatic League and the Scandinavian 

Kingdom » 419 

Contents Ix 


XIX. The Teutonic Ordek and Poland, . . • .451 

XX. The Christian States of Spain, . ... 468 

XXI. The Greek Empire and the Ottoman Turks, . 494 
XXII. The Renaissance in Italy, . . . . .515 
Appendix — Genealogical Tables — 

A — The Succession in Bohemia, 535 

B — The Succession in Tyrol, . , , , , 535 

C— The House of Hapsburg, . .... 536 

D— The House of Wittelsbach, ..... 537 

E — The House of Luxemburg, ..... 538 

F — The Later Capets in France, ..... 539 

G — The House of Valois . 540 

H — The Duchy and County of Burgundy, . . . 541 

I— The First House of Anjou in Naples and Hungary, . 542 

K — The Second House of Anjou in Naples . . . 543 

L — The House of Aragon in Sicily and Naples, . , 544 

M — The Houses of Visconti and Sforza in Milan, . . 545 

N— The Medici in Florence, 546 

O— The Union of Kalmar, ...... 546 

P— The Palaeologi • • 547 

Q— Castile 548 

R — Aragon, ........ 549 

S — Navarre, 550 

T — Some European Connections of the House of Portugal, 551 

Index, 553 


At end of Book 

1. France, to show the Additions to the Monarchy 

between 1273 and i494. 

2. Possessions and Claims of Charles the Bold, Duke of 

Burgundy, 1467-1477. 

3. Italy in the Fifteenth Century. 

4. The Swiss Confederation. 


[The following list has no pretensions to be an exhaustive bibliography 
of the period, nor does it profess to include all the authorities consulted 
by the author. It is merely compiled with the object of offering sugges- 
tions to any student who wishes to read more widely, either on the whole 
period, or on any part of it. Those books which cannot be classed under 
any of the great European states are placed under the head of ' General.'] 
General — 

Lavisse et Rambaud, Histoire Gintrale du iv«. Stick a nos jours, 

Tome in. 

Creighton, History of the Papacy during the Reformation, Vols. I. -III. 

Froissart, Chroniques. [A popular and useful selection from the 

translation of Lord Berners has been published by Messrs. 

Macmillan and Co. in the ' Globe ' Series. The most complete 

edition is that by Kervyn de Lettenhove.] 

Leroux, Recherches Critiques sur les relations politiques de la France 

avec V Allemagne. 
Fournier, Le Royaume a* Aries. 
Oman, History of War in the Middle Ages. 
H. C. Lea, History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages. 
R. L. Poole, Illustrations of Medieval Thought. 
Germany — 

Nitzsch, Geschichte des Deutschen Volkes. 
Lorenz, Deutsche Geschichte im 13-14 Jahrhunderte. 
Zeller, Histoire de V Allemagne. 

Droysen, Geschichte der preussischen Politik, Vols. I. and II, 
Dierauen, Geschichte der schweizerischcn Eidgenossenschaft. 
Palacky, Geschichte von Bbhmen. 
Loserth, Hus und Wiclif (translated). 
Sartorius, Geschichte des Ursprunges der Deutschen Hanse. 
Schafer, die Hansestddte und Kbnig Waldemar von Danemark. 
Treitschke, Das Deutsche Ordensland Preussen, 
Historische und politische Au/sdtze, Vol. II. 
Italy — 

Villani, Cronichi. 

Sismondi, Histoire des Ripubliques italiennes du moyen Age. 

Bibliographical Note 

Cipolla, Storia delle Signorie Italiane, dal 13 13 al 1530. 

Gregorovius, Geschichte der Stadt Rom im Mittelalter (translated). 

Romanin, Storia documentata di Venezia. 

H. F. Brown, Venice, an Historical Sketch. 

Machiavelli, Storia Fiorentina. 

Perrens, Histoire de Florence. 

Guido Capponi, Storia del la republica di Firenu, 

Napier, Florentine History. 

Villari, Machiavelli (translated), Vol. I. 

Von Reumont, Lorenzo de' Medici (translated). 

Armstrong, Lorenzo d£ Medici 

J. A. Symonds, Renaissance in Italy. 

France and the Netherlands — 
Martin, Histoire de France. 
Michelet, Histoire de France. 
Langlois, Le rigne de Philippe le Hardi. 
Boutaric, La France sous Philippe le Bel. 
Perrens, Atienne Marcel. 
S. Luce, Histoire de la Jacquerie. 
Vanderkindere, Le sihle des Arteveldes. 
Vallet de Viriville, Histoire de Charles VII, 
Beaucourt, Histoire de Charles VII. 
Cosneau, Le Conntfable de Richemont. 
P. Clement, Jacques Caur et Charles VII. 
Philippe de Commines, Me'moires. 
Barante, Histoire des Dues de Bourgogne. 
Kirk, History of Charles the Bold. 
Clamageran, Histoire de P Imp5t en France. 
Gasquet, Pricis des Institutions Politiques et Socials* 
de Vancienne France. 


Lafuente, Historia general de Fspafta. 

Burke, History of Spain, 2 vols. 

Schafer und Schirrmacher, Geschichte von Spanien. 

Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella. 

Fall of the Greek Empire — 
Gibbon, Decline and Fall. 
Finlay, Byzantine and Greek Empires 
La Jonquiere, Histoire de P Empire Ottoman. 


[This table has been drawn up in order to bring together in theii 
chronological sequence those events in different parts of Europe which 
are necessarily treated in the text under the head of different states. The 
chief events in English History are inserted to serve as guide-posts, even 
though in some cases no direct reference may be made to them in the 
following pages.] 


1273. Election of Rudolf of Hapsburg as King of the Romans. 

Crowned at Aachen, October 24, 8 

1274. Death of Henry, King of Navarre and Count of Champagne 

and Brie. Philip III. of France annexes Champagne and 

Brie, and assumes the government of Navarre, . . 48 

1276. First war between Rudolf 1. and Ottokar of Bohemia, . 9 

„ Death of Pope Gregory X., 27 

,, Death of James I. (the Conqueror) of Aragon. Accession of 

Peter ill., 479 

1277. Election of Pope Nicolas in., 27 

„ Archbishop Otto Visconti obtains the lordship of Milan, . 36 

1278. Ottokar of Bohemia killed in the battle of Marchfeld 

(August 26). Accession of Wenzel 11., .... 10 

1280. The Teutonic Knights complete the conquest of Prussia, . 456 
„ Death of Pope Nicolas III., 27 

1 28 1. Election of Pope Martin iv., 28 

1282. The Sicilian Vespers (March 30) lead to the transfer of 

Sicily from the house of Anjou to Peter III. of Aragon, . 25 

M Constitutional changes in Florence, 32 

,, Austria, Styria, and Carniola acquired by house of Haps- 
burg, and Carinthia given to Meinhard of Tyrol, . . 10 
, t Death of the Greek Emperor Michael VIII., and accession of 

Andronicus 11., 497 

„ Edward I. of England conquers Wales, . . • .155 

1283. Peter ill. of Aragon issues the ' General Privilege,' • . 481 

Chronological Table xiii 

1284. Battle of Meloria. The Pisans, defeated by the Genoese, 

lose their maritime importance, 31 

,, Death of Alfonso x. (the Wise) of Castile. Accession of 

Sancho iv., 48, 470 

„ Charles of Valois accepts the crown of Aragon from the 

Pope. War between France and Aragon, ... 49 

1285. Death of Charles 1., King of Naples (January 7). Accession 

of Charles 11 25 

,, Death of Pope Martin IV. (March 12). Election of 

Honorius IV., 28 

„ Death of Philip III. of France (October 5). Accession of 

Philip iv 49 

,, Death of Peter in. of Aragon (November 11). Accession 

of Alfonso in. in Aragon and of James in Sicily, . 25, 480 

1286. Accession of Eric Menved in Denmark, .... 430 
,, Death of Alexander in. of Scotland, 157 

1287. Alfonso in. of Aragon issues the ' Privilege of Union,' . 481 

1288. Death of Pope Honorius IV. Election of Nicolas 1 v., . 28 

1291. Death of Rudolf 1. (July 15), 11 

„ Formation of League between Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden 

(origin of Swiss Confederation), 127 

M Fall of Acre puts an end to Christian dominion in the East, 456 
„ Death of Alfonso in. of Aragon. Succeeded by his brother, 

James II., . . . . . . . . 26, 480 

1292. Election of Adolf of Nassau as King of the Romans (May 5), 11 
,, Death of Nicolas iv., followed by two years' interregnum in 

the Papacy, 28 

,, Edward 1. awards the Scottish crown to John Balliol, . 157 

1293. 'Ordinances of Justice' in Florence, . .... 32 

1294. Election of Pope Celestine iv ,28 

,, Abdication of Celestine. Election of Boniface vi 11., . . 28 

„ Outbreak of war between England and France, . . . 51 

1295. John Balliol joins France against Edward 1., ... 52 
„ Death of Archbishop Otto Visconti. Succeeded by his 

nephew Matteo, 36 

,, Death of Sancho IV. of Castile. Accession of Ferdinand iv., 470 

1296. Edward 1. deposes John Balliol and conquers Scotland, . 52 
,, Boniface vni. issues the bull Chricis laicos, . . 29, 52 

1297. Rising in Scotland under Wallace, 160 

„ Closing of the Great Council in Venice, .... 38 

1298. Peace between England and France negotiated by Boniface 

VIII . K2 

xiv European History, 1 273- 1494 

A.D. FAG* 

1298. Death of Adolf of Nassau. Election of Albert 1. , . . 13 

1302. Settlement of the long Sicilian wars. Frederick, brother of 

James 11. of Aragon, recognised as King of Sicily, . . 26 

„ Defeat of French army by the Flemings at Courtrai (July 11), 53 

„ First meeting of the States- General in France, ... 60 

„ Matteo Visconti driven from Milan, 36 

1303. Outrage at Anagni, and death of Boniface VIII., . . 29 
„ Andronicus II. invites the ' Grand Company of the Catalans ' 

into Greece, 497 

1304. Election (February 25) and death (July 27) of Benedict XI., 29 

1305. Election of Clement v., who remains in France, . 30 
,, Death of Wenzel 11. of Bohemia. Election of Wenzel ill., 15 

1306. Death of Wenzel ill. of Bohemia. Albert I. procures the 

crown for his son Rudolf, 1 5 

1307. Death of Rudolf of Bohemia. Accession of Henry of 

Carinthia, 16 

„ Break-up of Seljuk Empire on death of Aladdin ill., . . 299 

1308. Murder of Albert 1. Election of Henry vn. (of Luxemburg), 17 

1309. Charles Robert, grandson of Charles 11. of Naples, recog- 

nised as King of Hungary, 15 

,, Headquarters of the Teutonic Order transferred from Venice 

to Marienburg, 457 

,, Clement v. fixes his residence in Avignon, .... 30 

„ Death of Charles 11. of Naples. Accession of Robert, . 26 

1 3 10. Origin of the Council of Ten in Venice, . . 39 
„ Henry vn. sets out on an expedition to Italy, . . • 17, 39 
„ Henry of Carinthia driven from Bohemia, and the crown 

given to Henry vn.'s son John, 18 

131 1. Henry VII. restores Matteo Visconti in Milan, and appoints 

him imperial vicar, 40 

,, The Teutonic Knights acquire Pomerellen, .... 45$ 

1312. Suppression of the Templars, ...... 55 

,, Annexation of Lyons by Philip iv. of France, ... 56 

,, Henry vn. crowned Emperor in St. John Lateran, . . 41 

,, Death of Ferdinand iv. of Castile. Accession of Alfonso XI., 470 

1313. Death of Henry VII. near Siena, 18, 42 

1314. Battle of Bannockburn (June 24), 168 

„ Double election in Germany of Lewis the Bavarian and 

Frederick of Hapsburg, 98 

N Death of Philip iv. of France (November 29). Accession 

of Louis x. , 62 

», Death of Clement v. , and papal interregnum for two years, 98 

Chronological Table xv 

1315. Swiss victory at the battle of Morgarten, .... 129 

1 3 16. Election of Pope John xxil., 99 

,, Death of Louis x. of France. Exclusion of his daughter 

Jeanne in favour of her uncle, Philip v. (so-called Salic 

Law), 64 

1 3 19. Death of Eric Menved, and accession of Christopher II. in 

Denmark, 431 

1322. Defeat and capture of Frederick of Hapsburg at Miihldorf, . 99 
,, Death of Philip V. of France. Accession of Charles IV., . 65 
,, Galeazzo Visconti succeeds his father Matteo in Milan, . 174 

1323. Lewis the Bavarian protests against the intervention of 

John xxil. Beginning of quarrel between Empire and 

Papacy, 99 

, , Death of Waldemar, the last Ascanian Margrave of Branden- 
burg. Lewis the Bavarian gives Brandenburg to his 

eldest son Lewis, 107 

1326. Orchan succeeds Othman as leader of the Ottoman Turks, . 499 

1327. Lewis the Bavarian enters Italy and is crowned in Milan, . 105 
132S. Lewis crowned Emperor in Rome, 105 

,, Deposition of John xxil., and election of anti-pope, . . 105 

„ Scottish independence recognised by treaty of Northampton, 68 
„ Death of Charles IV. of France. Accession of Philip vi. 

(ofValois), 65 

,, Separation of France and Navarre : the latter goes to 

Jeanne, daughter of Louis x. , ..... 66 

„ Philip vi. defeats the Flemings at Cassel, .... 70 
„ Andronicus II. deposed in favour of his grandson, Androni- 

cus in 498 

,, Death of Castruccio Castracani, Lord of Lucca, . . 105, 143 

,, Death of Galeazzo Visconti, 174 

1329. Orchan defeats the forces of Andronicus ill. at Pelekanon, . 499 
,, Mastino della Scala succeeds Cangrande in Verona, . . 143 
,, Azzo Visconti becomes imperial vicar in Milan, . . 143, 174 

1330. Death of Frederick of Hapsburg, 105 

„ Lewis the Bavarian returns to Germany, . . , ,105 

„ Luzern joins the league of the Swiss cantons, . . . 130 

,, John of Bohemia enters Italy and occupies Brescia, . . 144 

1332. League of Italian states against John of Bohemia, . . 145 
, , Edward Balliol obtains the Scottish crown, and does homage 

to Edward in., 68 

„ Death of Christopher 11. followed by eight years' interreg- 
num in Denmark, 432 

xvi European History, 1273- 1494 


1333. John of Bohemia abandons Italy, 146 

„ Edward ill. wins battle of Halidon Hill, takes Berwick, and 

restores Edward Balliol, 68 

„ David Bruce escapes to France, and French intervention in 

Scotland, 68 

1334. Death of John XXII., and election of Benedict XII., . . 102 

1335. Death of Henry, Duke of Carinthia and Count of Tyrol, . 106 
,, Carinthia acquired by Hapsburgs, while Tyrol goes to Mar- 
garet Maultasch, wife of John Henry of Moravia, . . 107 

1336. Rudolf Brun effects a revolution in Zurich, . ... 131 
M Rising in Ghent under Jacob van Artevelde, . . . 7 1 
„ Death of James in. of Aragon, and accession of Peter IV., . 481 

1337. Edward III. claims the French crown and seeks allies in 

Flanders and Germany, 71 

1338. Electoral meeting at Rense, and diet at Frankfurt to protest 

against papal pretensions in Germany, .... 102 

„ Meeting of Lewis the Bavarian and Edward ill. at Coblentz, 72 
„ League against Mastino della Scala. Verona loses its 

ascendency in northern Italy, 147 

1339. Edward ill. invades France from Flanders. Beginning of 

Hundred Years' War. Unsuccessful campaign in Picardy, 72 

„ Death of Azzo Visconti. Succeeded by his uncle Lucchino, 175 

1340. Naval victory of the English at Sluys, .... 72 
„ Edward repulsed from Tournay, concludes truce with 

Philip VI., 72 

„ Succession dispute in Brittany on death of John in., . 73 
1, Alfonso XI. of Castile defeats the Moors in battle of the 

Salado, 471 

„ Waldemar III. restores monarchical power in Denmark, . 433 

1341. Lewis the Bavarian divorces Margaret of Maultasch from 

John Henry of Moravia, and marries her to his son, 

Lewis of Brandenburg, ....... 107 

„ Death of Andronic us in., and accession of John v., . . 500 

1342. Edward in. supports John de Montfort in Brittany, . . 73 
,, Death of Carobert of Hungary, and accession of Lewis the 

Great, 152 

„ Death of Benedict XII., and election of Clement VI., . 106 

1343. Death of Robert of Naples, and accession of Joanna 1., . 152 
,, Expulsion of Walter de Brienne, and constitutional changes 

in Florence, 148 

„ Treaty of Kalisch between Poland and the Teutonic Order, 458 

1345. Murder of Andrew of Hungary, husband of Joanna of Naples, 152 

Chronological Tablt xvii 


1345. Assassination of Jacob van Artevelde, .... 74 
H Death of William iv. of Holland, Hainault, and Zealand. 

His territories pass to a son of Lewis the Bavarian, 75, 108 

1 346. Opposition in Germany to Lewis the Bavarian. Election of 

Charles iv. as King of the Romans 108 

„ Battle of Crecy 76 

,, Death of John of Bohemia, 108 

„ Defeat of the Scots at Nevill's Cross, .... 77 

,, Esthonia handed over by Denmark to the Teutonic Order, 458 

1347. Lewis the Great of Hungary attacks Naples. Joanna flies 

to Provence, 153 

„ Triumph of Rienzi in Rome, 157 

,, Edward ill. takes Calais (August 4), • • • . 77 
„ Death of Lewis the Bavarian (October 11), • • . 108 
„ Abdication of Rienzi (December 15), .... 159 
„ John Cantacuzenos recognised as joint emperor in Constan- 
tinople, 501 

1348. Outbreak of the Black Death in Europe 78 

„ Battle of Epila. Peter iv. of Aragon revokes the ' Privilege 

of Union,' 482 

„ Lewis de Male recovers his authority as Count of Flanders, 78 

„ Foundation of the University of Prague by Charles IV., . 113 

,, Joanna of Naples sells Avignon to Pope Clement VI., . 153 

1349. Death of Lucchino Visconti. Succeeded by Giovanni, 

Archbishop of Milan, . . . . . . . 175 

„ Annexation of Dauphine to France, 78 

,, Death of Jeanne of Navarre, and accession of Charles the 

Bad, . . • . . ... . . 79 

,, Charles iv. succeeds in overcoming opposition in Germany, in 

1350. Death of Philip vi. of France (August 22), and accession of 

John, 79 

,, Death of Eudes IV., Duke and Count of Burgundy. Suc- 
ceeded by Philip de Rouvre, . . . ... 79 

M Death of Alfonso xi. of Castile, and accession of Peter the 

Cruel, 471 

tf Giovanni Visconti obtains Bologna, .... 160, 175 
,, Outbreak of war between Venice and Genoa, . . .170 

135 1. Zurich joins the Swiss League, 132 

„ Peace between Lewis of Hungary and Joanna of Naples, . 153 

1352. Albert 11. of Austria attacks Zurich. Glarus and Zug join 

the Confederation, - . . . . . .134 

„ Death of Pope Clement VI., and election of Innocent vi., . 160 

xviii European History, 1273- 1494 


1353. The accession of Bern completes the eight old cantons of 

the Swiss Confederation, 135 

„ Innocent vi. sends Cardinal Albornoz to recover the 

Papal States, almost lost during the residence in Avignon, 160 

„ Genoa, defeated in naval war with Venice, submits to Milan, 170 

1354. Rienzi's return to Rome and his death, . . . .161 
,, Genoese victory in the battle of Sapienza, . . . .171 
,, Death of Giovanni Visconti. Milanese dominions divided 

between his three nephews, 175 

,, John Cantacuzenos compelled to abdicate, . . . 502 
„ Turks seize Gallipoli, their first possession on European 

soil, 5° 2 

1355. Renewal of English invasion of France, .... 80 
,, Charles iv. crowned Emperor in Rome, . . • .114 
„ Important meeting of States-General in France, . . 81 
„ Conspiracy and death of Marin Falier in Venice, . . 169 

„ Peace between Venice and Genoa, 171 

„ Assassination of Matteo Visconti. Partition of Milanese 

territories between Bernabo and Galeazzo, . . .176 

,, Death of Stephen Dushan, King of Servia, . . . 5 01 

1356. Battle of Poitiers, and capture of John of France, . . 81 
„ States-General under the guidance of Etienne Marcel, . 83 

„ Charles iv. issues the Golden Bull, 115 

,, Genoa repudiates Milanese suzerainty, . . . 171,176 

1358. Rising of the Jacquerie in France, 87 

„ Assassination of Marcel, and restoration of order and royal 

authority by Charles, Duke of Normandy, acting as regent 

during his father's captivity, 88 

„ Death of Albert II. of Austria, leaving his territories to 

the joint rule of four sons, 136 

1359. Death of Orchan. Succeeded by Amurath or Murad 1., . 502 

1360. Treaty of Bretigni (May 8) ends first period of the Hundred 

Years' War, 89 

,, Cardinal Albomoz recovers Bologna from the Visconti, 161, 177 

1 36 1. Death of Philip de Rouvre. Duchy of Burgundy granted 

by John of France to his fourth son, Philip, ... 90 
„ Sack of Wisby by Waldemar in. Beginning of war between 

Denmark and the Hanseatic League, .... 433 
, , Amurath 1. seizes Adrianople, which becomes the European 

capital of the Turks till 1453, 502 

1362. Death of Pope Innocent vi., and election of Urban v., . 161 
„ Defeat of the Hanseatic League by Danish fleet, . . 434 

Chronological Table xix 

AD- r,A>.u 

1363. Death of Meinhard, Duke of Upper Bavaria and Count of 

Tyrol. Upper Bavaria united with Lower Bavaria : Tyrol 
acquired by the Hapsburgs, . . . . . .120 

„ Marriage of Margaret of Denmark to Hakon of Norway, . 435 

1364. John of France returns to England and dies there. Acces- 

sion of Charles v., 188 

,, Treaty of mutual inheritance between the houses of Luxem- 
burg and Hapsburg, 120 

,, Charles of Blois killed at battle of Aurai, .... 92 
,, Deposition of Magnus of Sweden in favour of Albert of 

Mecklenburg 436 

1365. Death of Rudolf of Hapsburg 137 

,, Settlement of Breton war by the recognition of John de 

Montfort, 92 

,, Treaty of Wordingborg between Waldemar in. and Hanse towns, 436 

1366. Peter the Cruel, driven from Castile by Henry of Trasta- 

mara, flies to the Black Prince at Bordeaux, . . 93, 473 

1367. The Black Prince wins the battle of Najara, and restores 

Peter the Cruel in Castile, 93, 473 

,, Urban v. returns from Avignon to Rome, . . .162 

,, Meeting of Hanseatic League at Cologne declares war 

against Denmark, 437 

1368. Charles iv. visits Urban v. in Rome, .... 162 

,, Death of Cardinal Albornoz, 162,177 

,, Triumph of the Hanseatic fleet : capture of Copenhagen, . 438 

1369. Battle of Montiel. Death of Peter the Cruel. Accession of 

Henry of Trastamara (Henry II.) in Castile, . . 94, 474 

,, Renewal of war between France and England, ... 94 
,, The eastern Emperor John v. visits Rome, and agrees to a 

union between the Greek and Latin Churches, . . 503 

1370. Partition of Hapsburg territories between Albert III. and 

Leopold, .... 137, 398 

„ Massacre at Limoges by order of the Black Prince, . . 95 
,, Urban V. returns from Rome to Avignon, .... 162 
„ Treaty of Stralsund. Hanseatic League at the zenith of its 

power, 438 

„ Death of Casimir the Great of Poland. Succeeded by Lewis 

of Hungary, . 459 

1372. Defeat of the English fleet by Spaniards and French off 

La Rochelle, 95 

1373. Disastrous expedition of John of Gaunt to France, . . 95 
,, The Emperor Charles iv. acquires Brandenburg, • . 441 

xx European History \ 1273- 1494 


1375. Truce between England and France, leaving England In 

occupation of Calais, Bordeaux, and Bayonne, . . 96 

,, Death of Waldemar ill. of Denmark. Accession of Olaf, . 442 

1376. Death of the Black Prince (June 8), 96 

,, Election of Wenzel as King of the Romans, . . . 121 

1377. Death of Edward ill. of England. Accession of Richard 11. , 96 
,, Gregory XI. leaves Avignon for Rome, . . . 162, 185 

1378. Death of Gregory xi. in Rome. Election of Urban VI., 162, 185 

,, Rising of the ' Ciom pi ' in Florence, 164 

„ Outbreak of war between Venice and Genoa, . . .172 

n Galeazzo Visconti dies and is succeeded by Gian Galeazzo, 177 

1, Election of anti-pope Clement vn. (Sept. 20). Beginning 

of the great schism, ..... 122, 162, 186 
„ Death of the Emperor Charles iv. (Nov. 29). Partition of 

his dominions, 123 

1379. The Genoese seize Chioggia and blockade Venice, . . 172 
,, Death of Henry II. of Castile, and accession of John 1., . 474 

1380. Death of Charles v. of France, and accession of Charles vi., 97, 315 
„ Death of Hakon of Norway. Union of Norway and 

Denmark under Olaf, 442 

„ The Genoese are forced to capitulate at Chioggia. Triumph 

of Venice, 173 

,, Death of Lewis the Great, King of Hungary and Poland, 190, 459 

1 38 1. Rising of the lower classes in England, . . . ,316 

1382. Counter-revolution in Florence establishes oligarchy, . . 166 

,, Rising of the Maillotin s in Paris 317 

„ Rising of the Flemings under Philip van Artevelde, . . 317 
„ French defeat of the Flemings at Roosebek, . . . 318 
„ Suppression of the Maillotins in Paris, .... 318 
,, Death of Joanna I. of Naples. Accession of Charles in., . 154 

1383. Death of Lewis de Male. His son-in-law, Philip of 

Burgundy, acquires Flanders, Artois, Nevers, Rethel, 

and Franche-Comt£, 3 20 

1385. Gian Galeazzo Visconti imprisons his uncle, Bernabo, and 

reunites the Milanese dominions, 177 

„ Charles ill. of Naples claims crown of Hungary, . . 191 

„ Portuguese victory at Aljubarrota over Castilians, . . 474 
„ Death of Louis of Anjou, who had obtained Provence but 

had been defeated by Charles III. as a claimant to Naples, 154 

1386. Jagello of Lithuania marries Hedwig, younger daughter of 

Lewis the Great, becomes a Christian, and is crowned 
King of Poland, 191 , 459 

Chronological Table xxi 


1386. Valentina Visconti married to Louis of Orleans, . • 178, 321 
N Charles in. of Naples assassinated in Hungary, . . 155, 191 
„ Swiss victory at Sempach. Defeat and death of Leopold of 

Hapsburg, 138 

,, John of Gaunt advances the claim of his wife, Constance, in 

Castile, 474 

„ Schleswig ceded by Denmark to Count of Holstein, . . 442 

[387. Sigismund of Luxemburg crowned King of Hungary, . . 192 

,, Outbreak of town- war in Germany, 189 

„ Death of Peter iv. of Aragon. Accession of John I., . 482 
„ John of Gaunt withdraws his wife's claim and makes peace 

with John I. of Castile, 475 

,, Gian Galeazzo seizes Verona and Vicenza, and ruins the 

house of Scala, 179 

, , Death of Olaf of Denmark and Norway. Succeeded by his 

mother, Margaret, 443 

1388. Padua subjected by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, . . .179 
,, Albert of Sweden deposed ; crown offered to Margaret of 

Denmark and Norway, 443 

1389. Peace of Eger closes the town-war in Germany, . . . 190 
,, Hapsburgs recognise by treaty the independence of the 

Swiss Confederation, 138 

„ Turkish victory at Kossova, 503 

„ Amurath I. succeeded by Bajazet I., 503 

„ Death of Urban vi. Election of Boniface IX., . . • 187 

1390. Death of John I. of Castile, and accession of Henry in., . 475 

1 39 1. Mary of Sicily marries Martin the Younger, son of Martin 1. 

of Aragon, 482 

„ Death of Greek emperor, John v., and accession of 

Manuel II., 504 

1392. Charles vi. becomes insane. The Dukes of Burgundy and 

Orleans dispute for the government of France, . . 319 

1394. Death of Avignon Pope, Clement VII. Election of Bene- 

dict xni., ... 187 

1395. Wenzel creates Gian Galeazzo Duke of Milan, . . .178 

1396. Genoa submits to France through fear of Milan, . . . 180 
„ Battle of Nicopolis, 193, 322, 504 

1397- The three Scandinavian kingdoms accept the Union of 

Kalmar, 443 

1398. Meeting of Wenzel and Charles VI. of France at Rheims, . 194 

1399. Gian Galeazzo obtains rule in Pisa and Siena, . . . 181 
„ Ladislas, son of Charles in., finally secures crown of Naples 

against Louis 11. of Anjou, 155,266 

xxii European History \ 1273- 1494 


1399. Revolution in England. Accession of Henry iv. (of 

Lancaster), . . . , 325 

1400. A party of German princes depose Wenzel and elect a rival 

King of the Romans, Rupert in., .... 181, 195 

1401. Battle of Brescia (Oct. 24) : Milanese troops rout the forces 

of Rupert in 181,196 

1402. Death of Gian Galeazzo Visconti (Sept. 3), . . 181,241 
,, Battle of Angora : Timour defeats the Turks and captures 

Bajazet 1. Constantinople saved for the time, . . 505 
1404. Death of Philip the Bold of Burgundy. Succeeded by John 

the Fearless, 322 



„ Death of Boniface ix. Election of Innocent vn., 

,, Venice allied with Milan against Francesco Carrara, . 

1405. Death of Innocent VII. Election of Gregory XII., 
,, Venice acquires Verona and Padua, .... 
,, Death of Timour or Tamerlane, the Tartar leader, 

1406. Pisa subjected to Florence (Oct. 9), . 
,, Death of Henry ill. of Castile, and accession of John II., 

1407. Assassination of Louis of Orleans in Paris, . 

1408. Ladislas of Naples occupies Rome, .... 

1409. Council of Pisa. Election of a third Pope, Alexander v., . 199 

,, Exodus of Germans from Prague, 210 

,, Death of Martin the Younger. Sicily passes to his father 

Martin I. of Aragon, ....... 482 

14 10. Outbreak of civil war between Burgundians and Armagnacs 

in France, ......... 326 

Death of Pope Alexander v. Election of John xxm., . 201 
Death of Rupert in., King of the Romans, . . . 201 
Double election of Sigismund (Sept.) and Jobst (Oct.), . 203 
Recovery of Rome from Ladislas of Naples, . . . 267 
Battle of Tannenberg : defeat of the Teutonic knights by 

the Poles, 460 

Death of Martin I., King of Argon and Sicily. Disputed 

succession, ......... 483 

141 1. Death of Jobst of Moravia (Jan. 12), .... 203 

Sigismund again elected King of the Romans, . . . 204 
Cabochiens supreme in Paris, ...... 327 

Ladislas defeated by papal and Angevin forces at Rocca 

Secca, .......... 267 

,, Peace of Thorn between Poland and the Teutonic Order, . 461 

14 1 2. Assassination of Gian Maria Visconti. Filippo Maria rules 

in Milan, . . 246 

Chronological Table xxiii 


1412. Death of Margaret, ' the Union Queen.' Accession of Eric 

of Pomerania, in the Scandinavian kingdoms, . . . 444 
,, Crowns of Aragon and Sicily given to Ferdinand I. (of 

Castilian house of Trastamara), 483 

141 3. The Armagnacs seize Paris and put down the Cabochiens, . 327 
„ Ladislas of Naples drives John XXIII. from Rome, . . 267 
,, Mohammed 1. reunites the Ottoman dominions, . . • 505 

1414. Defeat of the Burgundians. Treaty of Arras, . . . 327 
,, Death of Ladislas of Naples. Accession of Joanna II., 205, 267 
,, Meeting of the Council of Constance, . . . 205,211 

1415. Henry v. invades France. Capture of Harfleur (Sept. 22). 

Battle of Agincourt, 328 

,, Deposition of John XXIII. at Constance (May 29), . . 216 

„ Sigismund gives Brandenburg to Frederick of Hohenzollern, 216 

,, John Hus put to death at Constance (July 6), . . 217 

,, Sigismund leaves Constance to travel through Europe, . 217 
„ Spanish kings abandon Benedict xm. and adhere to the 

Council of Constance, 218 

1416. Death of Ferdinand 1. of Aragon and Sicily. Succeeded by 

Alfonso v., 484 

14 1 7. Sigismund returns to Constance, 219 

,, Election of Pope Martin v. ends the schism, . . . 220 
„ Death of Louis 11. of Anjou, unsuccessful claimant to 

Naples, 269 

„ Death of Maso degli Albizzi, leader of the Florentine 

oligarchs, 289 

„ Henry v. renews the invasion of Normandy, . • .331 

1418. Dissolution of the Council of Constance, .... 220 
,, Burgundians seize Paris from the Armagnacs, . . 331 

1419. Death of Wenzel. Vacancy of Bohemian throne, . . 224 
,, Fall of Rouen completes the English conquest of Normandy, 331 
„ Assassination of John the Fearless at Montereau (Sept. 10), 332 
,, Philip the Good, who succeeds to the Burgundian 

dominions, allies himself closely with England, . . 332 

1420. Martin v. publishes a crusade against the Hussites, . . 225 
„ Treaty of Troyes (May 21) gives the regency and the suc- 
cession in France to Henry v., 332 

,, The Hussites in Bohemia formulate the * four articles of 

Frag,' 223 

142 1. Martin v. re-enters Rome with the help of the Colonnas, . 221 
„ Battle of Bauge : defeat and death of Thomas of Clarence, . 333 
M Death of Mohammed I- Succeeded by Amurath 11.,. . 506 

xxiv European History, 1 273- 1494 


1422. Death of Albert in., the last Ascanian Elector of Saxony, . 226 
„ Establishment of the house of Wettin in Saxony, . . 226 
„ Death of Henry v. of England (Aug. 31), and accession of 

Henry vi., 333 

„ Death of Charles vi. of France. Succeeded in the north by 

Henry vi., in the south by Charles VII., . . . 333 
>t Attempted reform of military and financial system in 

Germany, 227 

1423. English and Burgundian victory at Crevant, , . . 337 
,, Francesco Foscari becomes Doge of Venice, . . . 249 

1424. John, Duke of Bedford, defeats French and Scots at Verneuil, 337 
,, Gloucester marries Jacqueline of Hainault and quarrels with 

Philip of Burgundy, 337 

„ Death of the Hussite leader, John Ziska, .... 225 

1425. Death of Manuel II., and accession of John vi. in Con- 

stantinople 5°6 

M Bedford recalled to England by quarrel of Gloucester and 

Beaufort, 338 

,, League of Florence and Venice against Filippo Maria 

Visconti, 249 

1426. Venice acquires Brescia from Milan, 249 

1427. Defeat of fourth crusade against the Hussites. Proposed 

constitutional reforms in Germany, .... 227 

1428. Siege of Orleans by English and Burgundians, . . . 340 
,, Venice acquires Bergamo from Milan, . • • • 249 

1429. Jeanne Dare raises siege of Orleans (April 19), . • . 341 
„ Charles vi. crowned at Rheims, 341 

1430. Jeanne Dare captured at Comptegne, 344 

1 43 1. Trial and execution (May 28) of Jeanne Dare, . 345 
,, Death of Martin v., and election of Eugenius iv., . . 229 

„ Meeting of the Council of Basel 229 

„ Utter failure of the fifth crusade against the Hussites, . . 228 

,, Venetian reverses in the war with Milan, .... 250 

1432. Death of Bedford's wife, Anne of Burgundy, . • . 346 

,, Trial and execution of Carmagnola, 250 

„ Bedford marries Jacquetta of Luxemburg, .... 346 

„ Quarrel between Eugenius iv. and Council of Basel, . . 230 

,, Sigismund crowned Emperor in Rome, .... 230 

1433. Eugenius iv., driven from Rome to Florence, is compelled 

to recognise the Council of Basel, 231 

„ The Compactata arranged between the Hussites and the 

Council, 231 

Chronological Table xxv 


1433. Exile of Cosimo de' Medici from Florence, . . . 293 

1434. Defeat of the Taborites at the battle of Lipan, . . . 233 
„ Fall of the Albizzi in Florence. Recall of Cosimo de* 

Medici, and establishment of Medicean ascendency, . 294 

1435. Treaty of Arras between Philip the Good and Charles vn., 347 

„ Death of Bedford 348 

„ Death of Joanna II. of Naples. Disputed succession be- 
tween Alfonso v. of Aragon and R6ne of Provence, . 27 1 

1436. Loss of Paris by the English 350 

,, Sigismund at last obtains the Bohemian crown, . . . 233 

1437. Renewed quarrel between Eugenius iv. and the Council of 

Basel, 235 

„ Death of Sigismund. Albert v. of Austria succeeds in 

Hungary and Bohemia 398 

1438. Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, 237 

,, Election of Albert II. (Albert v. of Austria) as King of the 

Romans, 399 

,, Council at Ferrara, transferred to Florence, . . . 236 

1439. States-General of Orleans issue the Ordonnance sur la 

Gendarmerie^ 352 

„ Pragmatic Sanction of Mainz, 237 

„ Death of Albert 11. (Oct. 27), ...... 401 

„ Union of Greek and Latin Churches agreed to at Florence, 236 

,, Deposition of Eugenius I v. by the Council of Basel, . . 238 

,, Election of anti-pope Felix v., 238 

1440. The Praguerie in France, 354 

,, Election of Frederick III. as King of the Romans, . . 402 
„ Ladislas Postumus becomes Duke of Austria and King of 

Bohemia, 409 

„ The Hungarians elect Ladislas ill. of Poland, . . . 409 
„ ' Prussian League ' formed in opposition to the Teutonic 

Order, 463 

144 1. Peace between Milan and Venice. Venice keeps Brescia 

and Bergamo, 251 

,, Venice acquires possession of Ravenna, . . . .251 

1442. Alfonso V. of Aragon finally secures the crown of Naples, . 271 
„ Death of Blanche of Navarre. Her husband, John of 

Aragon, keeps the crown, excluding his son, Charles of 

Viana, 485 

1443. Eugenius IV. returns to Rome, 239 

1444. Battle of Varna. Death of Ladislas of Poland and 

Hungary, , • 410, 508 

xx vi European History, 1273- 1494 


1445. Organisation of standing army in France, » • • « 354 
„ Ladislas Postumus accepted as King of Hungary, . . 410 
„ iCneas Sylvius arranges terms between Frederick in. and 

Eugenius iv., 240 

„ Marriage of Henry vi. of England with Margaret of Anjou, 356 

1446. Banishment of the dauphin Louis to Dauphine, . . . 358 

1447. Death of Eugenius iv. (Feb. 23), and election of Nicolas v., 241, 272 
,, Death of Filippo Maria Visconti. Republic in Milan, . 252 

1448. Nicolas v. approves concordat with Germany, . . 241, 273 
,, Death of John vi. Succeeded by Constantine Palaeologus, 509 
,, Death of Christopher vacates the three Scandinavian 

crowns, ' . 446 

„ Swedes elect Karl Knudson, 446 

„ Christian I. (of Oldenburg) becomes King of Denmark, . 446 

1449. Dissolution of the Council of Basel, 241 

,, Renewal of war in France. Invasion of Normandy by the 

French, 357 

1450. Grand jubilee in Rome, 242, 273 

„ Francesco Sforza makes himself master of Milan, . . 253 

„ Disorder in England. Rising of Jack Cade, . . . 357 

,, Loss of Normandy by the English, . . . . • 357 

„ Christian I. of Denmark obtains crown of Norway, • . 446 

1451. French conquest of Guienne, 357 

,, Death of Amurath II. Succeeded by Mohammed 11., . 508 

1452. Frederick in. crowned Emperor in Rome,. . . .411 
,, Ladislas Postumus released from tutelage by Frederick III., 411 

1453. Capture of Constantinople by Mohammed II. (May 29), . 509 
Battle of Castillon (July 1 7). The English retain only Calais, 358 
Civil war in Prussia leads to Polish invasion, . . . 464 

1454. Peace of Lodi between Venice and Milan, .... 253 
, , Venice concludes a treaty with the Turks, .... 254 
i, Death of John II. of Castile. Succeeded by Henry iv. 

(•The Impotent') 476 

1455. Death of Nicolas v. Election of Calixtus in., . • . 274 
„ Beginning of the Wars of the Roses in England, • . 238 

1456. Mohammed II. repulsed from Belgrade, . . . .411 
,, Death of Hungarian leader, John Hunyadi, . . .411 
„ The dauphin Louis, driven from Dauphine" by his father, 

takes refuge in the Burgundian dominions, . . . 359 

1457. Compulsory abdication of Francesco Foscari in Venice, . 254 
,, Death of Ladislas Postumus. Austria passes to the Styrian 

branch of the Hapsburgs 414 


Chronological Table xxvii 


1457. Karl Knudson driven from Sweden. Coronation of Chris- 

tian 1. reunites the three Scandinavian kingdoms, . . 447 

1458. Death of Alfonso v. Aragon, Sicily, and Sardinia pass to his 

brother, John 11. ; Naples to his natural son, Ferrante, 275, 484 
„ Election of Mathias Corvinus in Hungary, .... 414 
„ Election of George Podiebrad in Bohemia, . . . 414 
„ Death of Calixtus in. Election of Pius 1 1., . . .276 
,, Servia conquered by the Turks, 511 

1459. Futile congress at Mantua to arrange a crusade against the 

Turks, 276 

,, Death of Adolf, Count of Holstein and Duke of Schleswig, 447 

1460. John of Calabria revives the Angevin claim to Naples, . 277 
„ Pius 11. issues the bull Execrabilis, .... 277, 407 

,, Turkish conquest of the Morea, 511 

„ Death of Prince Henry the Navigator, . . . .491 

„ Christian 1., King of Denmark, etc., obtains Schleswig and 

Holstein, 447 

1461. Death of Charles vn. of France, and accession of Louis xi., 361 
,, Death of Charles of Viana. Rising in Catalonia against 

John 11. of Aragon, 486 

„ Mohammed 11. subdues the empire of Trebirond, . . 513 
„ Yorkist victory at Towton, and accession of Edward IV. in 

England, 244 

1462. John 11. of Aragon, hard pressed by Catalans, cedes Rous- 

sillon and Cerdagne to Louis XI., . . . . 389, 486 
„ Conquest of Wallachia by the Turks, . . . . 511 

,, Turkish conquests in the ^Egean, . . # . .512 

1463. Venice decides to go to war with the Turks, • . 255, 512 

1464. Genoa subjected to Milan, ....... 260 

„ John of Calabria leaves Naples, ...... 278 

„ Death of Pius II. at Ancona. Election of Paul 11., . , 280 

„ Death of Cosimo de' Medici, 299 

,, Conquest of Bosnia by the Turks, . . . # .511 

1465. War of the Public Weal in France 365 

, , Louis xi. enters Paris after the battle of Montlheri, . . 366 
,, Conclusion of the Treaty of Conflans, .... 367 

1466. Death of Francesco Sforza. Succeeded by Galeazzo Maria, 261 
,, Conspiracy in Florence against Piero de' Medici, . . 300 
„ Treaty of Thorn : West Prussia ceded to Poland, and East 

Prussia retained by Teutonic Order as a Polish fief, . 465 

1467. Death of Scanderbeg, the defender of Albania against the 

Turks, 256 

xxviii European History ,1273-1494 


1467. Death of Philip the Good, and accession of Charles the Bold, 369 

1468. Interview at P&onne between Louis XI. and Charles the 

Bold 370 

„ Rebellion in Liege forces Louis to make treaty of P&onne, 371 
,, War between Hungary and Bohemia, . . . .415 

1469. Death of Piero de' Medici. Lorenzo becomes practically 

lord of Florence, 302 

„ Charles the Bold acquires Alsace and the Breisgau from 

Sigismund of Tyrol, 377 

,, Death of John of Calabria, 486 

„ Marriage of Isabella of Castile to Ferdinand of Aragon, . 477 
„ Margaret, daughter of Christian I., marries James ill. of 

Scotland, 448 

1470. Warwick and Clarence driven from England to France. 

Reconciliation of Warwick with Margaret of Anjou, . 372 

„ Renewed war between Louis XI. and Charles the Bold, . 374 

1471. Edward IV. of England defeats his opponents at Barnet 

(April 14) and Tewkesbury (May), . . . • 373 
„ Death of George Podiebrad. Bohemians elect Ladislas, 

son of Casimir iv. of Poland, 416, 465 

„ Death of Paul 11. Election of Sixtus iv., . . . .281 

,, Constitutional changes in Florence strengthen the Medici, . 303 

1472. Death of Charles of Guienne (May 24), .... 376 
„ Truce between Louis XI. and Charles the Bold, . . . 376 

„ Altered policy of Charles the Bold, 376 

„ John 11. takes Barcelona and puts down the Catalan rebel- 
lion, .... 486 

1473. Death of Nicolas of Calabria. Charles the Bold's aggres- 

sions in Lorraine, 378 

„ Interview at Trier between Charles the Bold and 

Frederick in., 378, 404 

1474. Charles the Bold lays siege to Neuss, ..... 378 
„ The Swiss stirred into hostility to Charles the Bold, . . 379 
„ Death of Henry iv. of Castile. Accession of Isabella, • 477 

1475. Edward iv. invades France. Treaty of Pecquigni, . . 381 
,, Charles the Bold overruns Lorraine, ..... 381 
„ Execution of the Constable St. Pol, 383 

1476. Charles the Bold undertakes to chastise the Swiss. Battles 

of Granson (March 2) and Morat (June 22), . . . 384 

,, Murder of Gian Galeazzo Sforza in Milan, . . . . 261 

1477. Death of Charles the Bold before Nanci (Jan. 5), . . 386 
„ Louis XI. occupies Burgundy, Franche-Comti and Artois, . 387 

Chronological Table xxix 

A.D. r A '.r 

1477. Mary of Rurgundy married to Maximilian, • • 388 

1478. Conspiracy of the Pazzi in Florence, .... 282,305 
„ Florence at war with Naples and the Papacy, . . 282, 307 

1479. Death of John II. of Aragon. Succeeded by Ferdinand the 

Catholic, but Navarre passes to his daughter Eleanor, . 487 
,, Florentine reverses. Lorenzo de' Medici goes to Naples, . 308 
,, Regency of Bona of Savoy in Milan overthrown by Ludovico 

Sforza, 262 

,, Treaty of Constantinople ends the long war between Venice 

and the Turks, 256, 513 

1480. Occupation of Otran to by the Turks, . . . 283,310,513 
„ Florence makes peace with Naples and Sixtus IV., . . 309 
,, Important constitutional changes in Florence, . . .310 
,, Death of Rene" le Bon, succeeded by Charles of Maine, . 389 

1481. Death of Mohammed II.. Evacuation of Otranto. Tem- 

porary decline of Turkish power, ..... 513 
,, Death of Charles of Maine enables Louis XI. to acquire 

Anjou, Maine, and Provence, 389 

1482. Death of Mary of Burgundy, 388 

„ Treaty of Arras settles the Burgundian succession, . . 388 

„ Venetian attack upon Ferrara, 257, 283 

„ Coalition of Milan, Naples, and Florence against Venice 

and the Papacy, 257, 283 

1483. Death of Edward IV. of England, 388 

„ Death of Louis xi. Accession of Charles vm. Regency of 

Anne of Beaujeu, 390 

,, Sixtus IV. deserts Venice and joins the hostile league, . 284 

1484. Meeting of States- General at Tours, . . . . 391 
M Treaty of Bagnolo ends the Ferrarese war, . . 257, 284 
,, Death of Sixtus IV., and election of Innocent VIII., . . 284 
,, War between Mathias Corvinus and' Frederick III., . . 416 

1485. Henry vn. establishes the Tudor dynasty in England, . 391 
„ Rising of Neapolitan barons against Ferrante. Offer of the 

crown to Rene" of Lorraine, 286 

„ Mathias Corvinus seizes Vienna, 417 

i486. Bartholomew Diaz rounds the Cape of Good Hope, . . 492 
„ Maximilian elected King of the Romans in his father's life- 
time 417 

1488. Death of Francis II. of Brittany. Succeeded by daughter 

Anne, 391 

1490. Death of Mathias Corvinus. Succeeded by Ladislas of 

Bohemia, . 417 

xxx European History, 1273- 1494 

A.D. fAGE 

1491. Anne of Brittany compelled to marry Charles VIII., . . 392 
„ Treaty of Pressburg, by which Maximilian recovered the 

Austrian territories which had been conquered by Mathias 

Corvinus, 417 

„ End of the regency of Anne of Beaujeu 392 

1492. Columbus discovers the new world of America, . . . 492 
„ Annexation of Moorish kingdom of Granada to Spain, . 490 
„ Death of Innocent Vin., and election of Alexander vi., . 287 
„ Death of Lorenzo de' Medici. Succeeded by Piero II., . 312 
,, Henry VII. invades France, but is bought off by treaty of 

Etaples, 392 

1493. Bull of Alexander VI. dividing the new world between Spain 

a»d Portugal, ........ 493 

„ Treaty of Barcelona restores Roussillon and Cerdagne to 

Aragon, 392 

„ Treaty of Senlis cedes Artois and Franche-Comti, . . 393 
,, Neapolitan exiles, advised by Venice, and supported by 

Ludovico Sforza, urge Charles fill, to claim Naples as 

representing the house of Anjou, . . . 263, 286, 392 
f , Death of Frederick in. Maximilian unites all Hapsburg 

dominions 417 

1494. Death of Ferrante of Naples. Succeeded by Alfonso II., . 287 
,, Treaty of Tordesillas between Spain and Portugal, . . 493 
„ Charles vni. sets out to assert his claim to Naples, . . 393 
M Expulsion of Piero de' Medici, and restoration of republican 

government in Florence, . . , • , .314 




% The Empire — German divisions — The Interregnum — Rudolf of Hapsburg — 
His War with Ottokar— Adolf of Nassau— His relations with France 
— His fall — Albert 1. — The Succession in Hungary and Bohemia — The 
Election of Henry Vii. — His Italian Expedition — His Concessions to the 
Princes — His son John and the Bohemian Crown — The French seizure of 
Lyons — The importance of the Period 1273-1313 in German History. 

Ever since a.d. 962 the German monarchy had been com- 
bined with the Roman Empire, and the union proved harmful 
to both offices. The universal authority of the 
Emperor could hardly fail to become shadowy andth™ 1 "" 
and unreal, but it was rendered more distasteful German 
to non-German princes and peoples by the im- 
mediate association of the Empire with a distinct kingdom, 
with which they might have causes of quarrel. And as the 
Empire became more and more localised, so the German 
kingship became steadily weaker. The shadowy character of 
the higher dignity tended to produce the same impression as 
to the more real and practical office. The princes who held 
their lands of the German king aimed more and more at the 
independence of the external kings and rulers, who, in feudal 
theory, held of the Emperor. The imperial claims brought 
the Empire into collision with the Papacy, and the German 
monarchy suffered from the blows which the Emperor's power 
received in the great Contest of Investitures. Moreover, the 
Empire carried with it the crown of Italy ; and the constant 
waste of money and men in the vain attempt to establish a 


2 European History \ 1273- 1494 

real dominion in the southern peninsula, not only weakened 
individual German rulers, but also led to constant absences 
from Germany which gave occasion to their northern vassals 
to acquire independence. Above all the Empire was, by 
tradition and by the very conception of the office, elective. 
Thus the German kings were deprived of all the advantages 
which normal hereditary succession gave to the rulers of 
England and France. Not only did disputed elections give 
rise to civil war with all its evils, but the constant change 
from one family to another rendered impossible any con- 
sistent policy of strengthening the central power. When at 
last the Hapsburgs obtained quasi-hereditary possession of 
the imperial dignity, disunion had made such progress that it 
was too late to apply a remedy. 

The decline of the central power and the consequent rise 
of a large number of semi-independent political units, each 
German With a separate existence of its own, though held 

divisions. together by certain common duties and interests, 
make German history in this period peculiarly difficult and 
complicated. And the number of these units was far greater 
in the thirteenth century than would have seemed likely at an 
earlier date. The great duchies formed by the Karolings had, 
by the policy of subsequent rulers, been broken up or allowed 
to become extinct. The great duchy of Swabia, for instance, 
came to an end with the Hohenstaufen, and was never re- 
vived. But the extinction of each duchy brought with it an 
immense increase of the number of tenants-in-chief. Every 
noble, town, and even village which had previously held of 
the duke, now claimed to hold directly of the Emperor ; and 
though many of the weaker units fell victims to the greed of 
powerful neighbours, yet some, like the original members of 
the Swiss Confederation, succeeded in retaining the coveted 
position. In Germany, too, primogeniture was in those days 
a rare exception, and the practice of equal partition among 
brothers necessarily led to a great increase in the number of 
princely tenants of the Emperor. 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 3 

It is, of course, impossible in this volume to attempt to 
trace the separate history of the various principalities and 
states which fill the rather ill-defined territory The lay 
known as Germany. But it is necessary at start- P rince «» 
ing to have a clear conception of some of the chief families 
which play so important a part in subsequent history. The 
four most prominent princely houses in the middle of the 
thirteenth century were those of Ascania, Welf, Wittelsbach, 
and Wettin. The first was sub-divided into two lines, de- 
scended from the two sons of Albert the Bear. The elder 
son had held the marks of Brandenburg in the north, which, 
since 1267, were split up among several brothers. The 
younger son, Bernard, had in n 80 received from Frederick 
Barbarossa the diminished duchy of Saxony, which was now 
held by his grandson, Albert 11. (1 261-1298). The great 
family of Welf, so powerful in the previous century, was now 
confined to the duchy of Brunswick, afterwards sub-divided 
into Liineburg (Hanover) and Wolfenbiittel (Brunswick). 
The House of Wittelsbach was represented by two brothers, 
Lewis 11., who combined the duchy of Upper Bavaria with 
the Palatine county (Pfalzgrafschaft) of the Rhine, and 
Henry, who held the duchy of Lower Bavaria. Henry of 
Wettin, whose descendants acquired Saxony in the fifteenth 
century and retain it to the present day, was at this time 
Margrave of Meissen and Landgrave of Thuringia. But the 
most powerful individual prince at this time was Ottokar, 
ruler of the Slav kingdom of Bohemia, which was brought by 
geography and history into close connection with Germany. 
To Bohemia, which he inherited in 1253 from his father, 
Wenzel 1., Ottokar had added by marriage and diplomacy 
Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola, and thus held a 
secure predominance in south-eastern Germany. There were 
also three lesser families, as yet insignificant, and not regarded 
as belonging to the princely class, which were destined within 
this period to rise to importance in Germany, while two of 
them have taken a position among the greatest dynasties 

4 European History, 1 273- 1494 

Europe has ever seen. The House of Luxemburg, in the 
thirteenth century the lords of a petty county near the 
western frontier, produced in the next century four Emperors, 
and founded a territorial power which survived the family 
which had created it. The Hapsburgs, hitherto known only 
as active and successful nobles in Swabia, within this period 
built up a considerable state in south-eastern Germany, and 
succeeded to the position which the Luxemburgs had founded. 
Finally, the Hohenzollerns, who in the thirteenth century 
combined scattered territories in Franconia with the office of 
Burggraf of Niirnberg, acquired the electorate of Brandenburg 
in the fifteenth century, and though their power grew more 
slowly than that of the Luxemburgs and Hapsburgs, yet it 
rested on a surer foundation, owed more to ability and policy 
than to fortune, and may prove in the end both more brilliant 
and more durable. 1 

Among the great territorial princes of Germany must be 
reckoned the very numerous ecclesiastical tenants-in-chief of 
The Bisho s ^ e Empire. A large area of German soil, especi- 
ally along the valleys of the Rhine and the Main, 
was held by bishops and monasteries. Of these clerical 
princes the most powerful and prominent were the Rhenish 
archbishops of Mainz, Koln, and Trier. In former times the 
bishops had been severed from the secular princes by class 
interests and traditions, and the separation had been en- 
couraged by many of the Emperors, whose policy was to 
exalt themselves by playing one off against the other. But 
after the middle of the thirteenth century this distinction 
tends to become obscured. The rivalry between Emperors 
and Popes, though it does not disappear, ceases to be the 
dominant factor in German relations ; and during the papal 
residence in Avignon (1 309-1 376) the German bishops be- 
come to some extent alienated from the Papacy. The result 
is that the German princes, both clerical and secular, come to 
form a fairly united class; and the most obvious interest 
which binds them together is the desire to strengthen their 
1 Both dynasties fell in the crash of 191 8. 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 5 

own independence, their 'liberty,' as they call it, by weakening 
the central power. On the other hand, the lesser tenants-in- 
chief below the princely rank, known in later history as the 
Ritterschaft, or knights, are impelled to cling to the monarchy 
for support against the constant danger of princely en- 

Besides the princes and knights, there is a very important 
body of tenants-in-chief — the Reichstadte, or imperial cities. 
These had risen to importance, partly through the The imperial 
economic conditions which gave them wealth, and cities - 
partly through the policy of several of the Emperors, who had 
encouraged the growth of municipal life as a source of revenue 
and as a check upon the power of the princes. German cities 
may be divided roughly into two great groups : those in the 
south, like Augsburg, Niirnberg, Ratisbon, etc., which ob- 
tained importance from their position on the great commercial 
routes leading from Venice and Genoa to different parts of 
Europe ; and those in the north, on the Baltic and the 
German Ocean, whose function was to carry on the trade 
between the east and the west of Northern Europe, and to 
exchange at Bruges the products of the north for the com- 
modities brought by the southern merchants (see p. 422). The 
strength of the towns lay in their wealth and their walls ; their 
weakness in their isolation and mutual jealousy. This weak- 
ness the southern cities never overcame; their leagues for 
common objects were never durable, and therefore never 
effectual. But the northern towns were left more to them- 
selves : they came into contact with less developed states, 
and they were subject to the pressure of more constant and 
more immediate political interests. The necessity of securing 
trade privileges in the countries lying to the east and west of 
the Baltic, and the duty of defending their commercial routes 
against the aggressive Scandinavian state of Denmark, which 
commanded the outlets from the Baltic, forced the northern 
towns into a semi-federal union, and the Hanseatic League 
became for a time a great political power in the north. In 

6 European History \ 1273- 1494 

the end the northern cities also succumbed, owing mainly to 
a great change in trade routes, and partly to the growing 
predominance of the princes. But at the beginning of this 
period the future destiny of the German towns was unknown, 
and to contemporaries it seemed quite possible that cities 
like Nurnberg and Augsburg, or Liibeck and Hamburg, 
might obtain an independence and a power not markedly 
inferior to that which was actually acquired at this time by 
Venice and Florence, which were in theory equally tenants- 
in-chief of the Empire, though further removed from the 
exercise of imperial authority. 

The decline of the German kingship had begun in the 
eleventh century, but a partial revival had been effected by 
The inter- tne S reat Hohenstaufen Emperors, Frederick 
regnum and Barbarossa, Henry vi., and Frederick II. With 
its results. the fal j of the Hohenstaufen both Empire and 
monarchy sank lower than they had ever done before. 
During the Great Interregnum (1256-1273), two rival kings, 
the Englishman. Richard of Cornwall, and the Castilian king, 
Alfonso x., had secured the nominal adherence of conflicting 
parties in Germany, but neither had attempted to rule the 
country. In these years not only did the tenants-in-chief 
enjoy complete independence of any external authority, but 
the imperial domains were either annexed by the princes, or 
squandered by the two royal claimants in the attempt to 
purchase adherents. This rendered it impossible to revive 
the old monarchy, and produced changes which seemed to 
render German unity for ever hopeless. Hitherto the elected 
Emperor had resigned his hereditary dominions, and had 
supported himself on the domain-lands, travelling about from 
one estate to another. This was no longer possible. The 
only way in which a future king could hope to secure any 
respect or obedience was to acquire such a territorial power 
as would make him formidable. Such a policy, consistently 
pursued by a line of hereditary kings, might have resulted in 
the gradual formation of a territorial monarchy like that of 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 7 

France. But the princes made use of their right of election, 
at first to prevent the kingship passing to successive members 
of the same family, and always to impose conditions which 
should secure their own independence. The evil results 
became abundantly plain in the century which followed the 
Interregnum. Each successive Emperor set himself, not so 
much to strengthen the monarchy, as to aggrandise his own 
family ; and the more successful he was, the more dangerous 
and objectionable did that family become to his successor. 
The same conditions which produced nepotism in the Papacy, 
led to the adoption of a consistent policy of dynastic aggran- 
disement by all the Emperors from Rudolf of Hapsburg 

In 1272 the death of Richard of Cornwall forced his 
adherents to consider the question of a new election, and at 
the same time Pope Gregory x., alarmed by the Election of 
excessive power of the House of Anjou in Italy, Rudolf I 
and afraid lest German disunion might give occasion for 
French aggression north of the Alps, used all his influence 
to urge on the unanimous choice of a new king in Germany. 
For a long time the right of election had tended to fall into 
fewer hands. The early German kings were selected by the 
chief men and approved by the acclamations of a mass 
meeting of all freemen. Gradually the form of popular 
approval disappeared, and the princely tenants-in-chief as- 
sumed an absolute power of nomination. Since then the 
practice had grown up of a preliminary choice by some of the 
chief princes, to be ratified by the rest. But in the thirteenth 
century the idea arose that certain princes could elect with- 
out any further ceremony. Superstition and custom seem to 
have combined to suggest the number seven for these electors, 
as they came to be called. But there were several contending 
claimants for the right to be included in the favoured seven, 
and it was not till the next century that these disputes were 
finally settled. On the present occasion the lead was taken 
by the great Rhenish princes, the Count Palatine with the 

8 European History, 1273- 1494 

three Archbishops. The only chance of securing a general 
adhesion of the princes was to choose a king who was not so 
strong as to excite either fear or jealousy. Mainly through 
the exertions of Frederick III. of Hohenzollern, Burggraf of 
Nurnberg, the choice of the electors fell upon his cousin 
Rudolf, Count of Hapsburg, who was crowned at Aachen on 
October 24, 1273. It is not a little curious that the election 
of the first Hapsburg was brought about by the influence of 
a Hohenzollern. 

Rudolfs position was no easy one when, at the age of 
fifty-five, he was called from his successful career in the petty 
Rudolfs politics of Swabia 1 to assume the German king- 
policy. s hip. He had a large family of daughters, whose 
marriages served to gain him adherents. At the coronation 
ceremony one had been married to Lewis of Wittelsbach, and 
another to Albert of Saxony. But such a tie was insufficient 
to secure the docile obedience of his sons-in-law if he endeav- 
oured to exercise any real authority over them. Alfonso of 
Castile retained the title of king of the Romans, and though 
for the time he was powerless, his pretensions might easily 
serve as a pretext for malcontents. A more formidable 
opponent was Ottokar of Bohemia, whose claim to a voice in 
the election had been disregarded, and who refused to acknow- 
ledge the 'pauper count' of Hapsburg. In these circum- 
stances Rudolf showed all the prudence and foresight that 
had already won him a reputation. He realised that it was 
no longer possible to revive the pretensions of the Hohen- 
staufen. He could not afford to alienate the Pope or to aim 
at the recovery of an Italian kingdom. He must content 
himself with obtaining what reality he could for the royal 
power in Germany, and must find a territorial basis for that 
power. The most obvious method of doing this was the 
restoration of the duchy of Swabia in his own family, which 
would enable him to achieve the aims which he had hitherto 
pursued. But such a step would involve a quarrel with Lewis 
1 For Rudolfs position in Swabia see below, chap. vii. 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 9 

of Wittelsbach, who claimed to be regarded the heir of the 
Hohenstaufen. Rudolf could not venture on such a risk, 
and he fell back on the plan of wresting from Ottokar the 
German fiefs in the south-east, which the latter had seized 
during the Interregnum. Before attempting this, Rudolf had 
to gain over the Pope, the close ally of the Bohemian king. 
Through the agency of Frederick of Hohenzollern he con- 
cluded a concordat with Gregory x., by which he confirmed 
all previous concessions of Italian territory to the Papacy, and 
recognised the Angevin kingdom of Naples and Sicily. These 
promises were subsequently confirmed in a personal interview 
with Gregory at Lausanne (October, 1275). In March 1280 
Rudolf made a direct treaty with Charles of Anjou, by which 
he confirmed his possession of Provence, and agreed to marry 
his daughter Clementia to Charles's grandson. Thus the 
policy of Frederick II. was finally abandoned. To secure 
undisturbed freedom of action in Germany, Rudolf resigned 
Italy to the Pope and the House of Anjou. 

Rudolfs alliance with the Pope made him strong enough 
to take active measures against Ottokar, whose refusal to 
recognise the election on the ground that his vote war with 
had been rejected irritated the German princes, ottokar. 
At successive diets, in 1274 and 1275, he was summoned to 
justify his occupation of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Car- 
niola, and on his refusal was called upon to resign these fiefs. 
In 1276 Rudolf collected an imperial army and advanced 
into Austria, where he was welcomed by a general rising of 
the German nobles against Slav rule. Vienna capitulated, 
and Ottokar, finding resistance hopeless, made peace on 
November 21. On condition that Bohemia and Moravia 
should be secured to him, he resigned the German provinces. 
The treaty was to be confirmed by a double marriage of his 
daughter to Rudolf's son Hartmann, and of his son Wenzel 
to one of Rudolf's numerous daughters. Rudolf was so 
confident in the results of his victory, that he hastened to 
disband his army. But Ottokar had no intention of carrying 

10 European History, 1273- 1494 

out the treaty of Vienna, and he succeeded in gaining over 
many of the chief German princes by representing the danger 
of allowing a strong Hapsburg power to be established on the 
Danube. The result was a renewal of the struggle in 1278 
under widely altered conditions. The death of Gregory x. 
(1276) had deprived Rudolf of much of the advantage gained 
by his concordat with the Papacy. The Archbishops of 
Mainz and Koln turned against him. Lewis of Wittelsbach 
remained obstinately neutral. Henry of Lower Bavaria, 
whom Rudolf had gained over in 1276 by a politic marriage, 
openly supported Ottokar, who was also aided by the 
Ascanian margraves of Brandenburg. In place of the im- 
posing army of 1276, the only Germaji princes who sent 
active aid to Rudolf were Frederick of Hohenzollern and the 
Bishop of Basel. But the balance was turned in his favour 
by the alliance of Ladislaus iv. of Hungary and by the support 
of the Austrian and Styrian nobles, whom Ottokar had failed 
to conciliate. In a great battle on the Marchfeld, the victory 
was decided by a charge of the heavy-armed cavalry under 
Frederick of Hohenzollern, and Ottokar himself perished on 
the field (August 26, 1278). His death made Rudolfs 
victory decisive. Otto of Brandenburg, who undertook the 
guardianship of the young king of Bohemia, Wenzel II., 
negotiated a treaty in October which renewed the stipulations 
of 1276 as to the cession of the Austrian provinces and the 
double marriage between the Hapsburg and Bohemian 
families. In December 1282 Rudolf formally invested his 
sons, Albert and Rudolf, with the imperial fiefs of Austria, 
Styria, and Carniola. The duchy of Carinthia was given to 
Meinhard, Count of Tyrol, whose daughter was married to 
Albert of Austria. 

The establishment of the Hapsburg dynasty in Austria is 
an important event in German history. It was the great 
Rudolf in achievement of Rudolfs reign, and it was his last 
later years, notable success. His later attempts to strengthen 
the central monarchy in Germany were, in the main, fruitless. 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 1 1 

A series of edicts to secure the public peace by restricting the 
practice of private war, gained the grateful approval of the 
towns and the lesser nobles, but were rendered ineffectual 
by the absence in Germany of an efficient system of juris- 
diction and police. An ordinance prohibiting the creation 
of any new county. (Grafschaft) without royal consent 
illustrates the general aim of Rudolfs government, but 
proved little more than a dead letter. The recovery of the 
lost imperial domains, which Rudolf had pledged himself 
to undertake at his election, was a task beyond his strength. 
Even the towns, on whose support he reckoned, were alien- 
ated by his attempt to raise an imperial revenue by their 
taxation ; and the appearance of a number of pretenders 
claiming to be Frederick n. showed a tendency to contrast 
Rudolfs government with that of his predecessor, who had 
been enabled to spare his German subjects by the wealth 
which he extracted from Italy. A still more serious difficulty 
was the obstinate refusal of the electors to choose his son 
Albert as his successor during his own lifetime. This was 
the most pressing object of Rudolfs last years, and it was 
unfulfilled when he died on July 15, 1291, at the age of 
seventy-three. If he had lived two centuries earlier, he 
might have ranked among the greatest of German kings ; as 
it is, he will always be remembered as the founder of the 
greatest of German dynasties. 

The objection to Albert of Austria rested on the consider- 
able territories, both in the east and in Swabia, Adolf ot 
which he inherited from his father. The same Nassau, 
motives which had induced the electors in 1273 to choose 
Rudolf, led them to look for a successor whose position 
should be still more humble than Rudolfs had been. The 
influence of the Archbishop of Mainz, Gerhard von Eppen- 
stein, secured the election of another * poor count,' Adolf of 
Nassau (May 5, 1292). He had purchased votes by promises, 
which he could only fulfil by pawning the scanty remnants 
of the imperial domains. But Adolf s ambition was greater 

12 European History \ 1273- 1494 

than his material power, and he had no intention of reigning 
as the submissive puppet of the electors. No sooner had he 
received the crown at Aachen (June 24) than he led an 
army against Albert, and forced him to do homage and to 
surrender the royal insignia which he had retained on his 
father's death. To repress the great princes, Adolf set 
himself to conciliate the towns and the lesser nobles 
Taking advantage of the death of Frederick of Meissen 
and Thuringia, he claimed those territories as vacant 
imperial fiefs, and prepared to found there a hereditary 
principality as his predecessor had done on the Danube. 

Still more noteworthy was the attitude which he assumed 
towards France. The kingdom of Aries or Burgundy, 
Relations founded by Rudolf 1. (888-912) and enlarged by 
with France. Rudo if IL (912-937) had, after the death of 
Rudolf in. (1032), fallen to the German king, Conrad n. 
Since then the crown of Aries had been regarded, with those 
of Germany and Italy, as one of the three crowns which 
passed on election to successive kings of the Romans. But 
as the German monarchy declined, the supremacy in Bur- 
gundy became more and more nominal, and many Emperors 
neglected the ceremony of coronation at Aries altogether. 
The kingdom split up into a number of quasi-independent 
provinces, of which the chief were the free county of Bur- 
gundy (Franche-comt£), Savoy, Dauphin6, the Lyonnais, and 
Provence. These provinces, though in theory they were 
held as fiefs of the Empire, were gradually subjected to 
systematic aggressions from the side of France, and Philip iv. 
(1285-13 1 4) pursued this policy of absorption more boldly 
and openly than any of his predecessors. Adolf sought to 
strengthen himself by posing as the champion of the unity of 
the Empire, and in 1294 concluded a treaty with Edward 1. 
of England by which the two princes pledged themselves not 
to lay down their arms until Philip had withdrawn from the 
territories he was trying to wrest from both of them. But 
the war which followed only brought out clearly the disunion 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 1 3 

and military impotence of Germany. The German princes 
cared nothing for the border provinces as compared with 
their own interests and independence. It was easy for 
Philip iv. to stir up opposition to Adolf, and when peace was 
negotiated by Boniface vin. in 1298, no satisfaction was 
given to the imperial claims. 

Meanwhile the electors and princes had been seriously 
alarmed by Adolf s alliance with the lesser nobles and towns, 
and by his temporary successes in Thuringia. To .„,„,.. 

. . , , 1 j , , Adolfsfall. 

put down the prince whom they had chosen, they 
turned to Albert of Austria whom they had rejected. Albert, 
who had already formed a close alliance with Wenzel 11. of 
Bohemia, and had been in communication with the French 
king, was eager to strike a blow for his father's crown. The 
Archbishop of Mainz summoned a meeting of princes to 
Frankfort on May 1, 1298, and Albert set out to attend it 
with an army at his back. Adolf, however, collected troops 
from his supporters among the lesser nobles, and prepared to 
dispute his passage. By superior strategy Albert marched 
round his opponent to the south, and succeeded in reaching 
Mainz, whither the meeting was transferred. Here the elec- 
tors formally declared Adolf's deposition (June 23), but the 
irregular proposal of Albert of Saxony to elect Albert of 
Austria on the spot met with no support. The army of the 
princes now advanced against the king, and after a desperate 
struggle near Gollheim, Adolf was slain — struck from his horse, 
it was said, by the hand of his rival (July 2). He had made 
a brief but creditable attempt to rule as a German king, but 
was too weak to face the hostile coalition of the princes. His 
schemes in Thuringia and Meissen perished with him, and 
the House of Wettin recovered its territories. 

After Albert's victory as champion of the electors, the 
latter could no longer avoid choosing him to fill the vacant 
throne ; but they soon had ample reason to recog- 
nise the wisdom of their previous refusal. Albert 
inherited his father's policy, with more restless energy and 

14 European History \ 1273- 1494 

greater military capacity. What he might have done for the 
Hapsburg dynasty and the German monarchy if his career 
had not been prematurely cut short by assassination it is im- 
possible to say, but the ten years of his reign are full of great 
enterprises, most of which promised successful results. The 
reputation for cruelty which he bears in history is mainly due 
to the sternness of his manner and appearance, increased by 
the loss of an eye, and to the fables which have grown up 
round him in the more than dubious traditions of the Swiss. 

To coerce Pope Boniface vin., who refused to acknowledge 
his election, Albert concluded a treaty with Philip iv. of 
Albert's France, who had a quarrel of his own with the 

policy. Papacy, and thus abandoned the attempt of Adolf 

to defend the Burgundian frontiers. In December, 1299, he 
had a personal interview with Philip, and arranged a marriage 
between the French princess Blanche and his eldest son 
Rudolf. In German politics he set himself to favour the 
towns against the princes, and infuriated the latter by an 
edict abolishing all tolls on the Rhine imposed since the 
death of Frederick 11. in 1250. The death of the Count of 
Holland and Zealand (October, 1299) g ave him an oppor- 
tunity to claim these provinces as vacant imperial fiefs in 
opposition to John of Hainault, who claimed the inheritance 
through his mother. This scheme, however, proved a failure, 
and the House of Avesnes succeeded in adding Holland and 
Zealand to Hainault. Encouraged by Albert's check in the 
north-west, the Rhenish archbishops and the Elector Palatine, 
furious at the threatened loss of their tolls, formed a league 
against the king whom they had voted for two years before. 
But Albert was not so powerless as Adolf had been. Backed 
by the enthusiastic support of the cities and aided by French 
auxiliaries, he took the aggressive against his opponents, and 
compelled them not only to abolish the tolls, but to recog- 
nise the right of the towns to receive burghers of the pale 
(Pfahlbiirger) — that is, to confer the privileges and immuni- 
ties of citizenship on residents in the suburbs outside the 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 1 5 

walls. Few German kings since Henry in. had been so 
successful in coercing their powerful vassals as was Albert in 
these campaigns of 1301 and 1302. 

For the next few years Albert's attention was mainly 
absorbed in eastern affairs. The death of Andrew in., the 
last male of the Arpad dynasty in Hungary, left succession in 
that kingdom without any obvious heir. There Hungary, 
were two candidates, who were descended from the royal 
family through females — Otto of Lower Bavaria, and Charles 
Robert or Carobert, the grandson of Charles n., the Angevin 
king of Naples. But the Magyar nobles passed over both, and 
offered the crown to Wenzel n. of Bohemia, who accepted it 
for his son Wenzel in. Such an accession of power to the 
Premyslides was entirely opposed to Albert's interests, both 
as King of Germany and as Duke of Austria. As he had no 
love for the Wittelsbachs in Lower Bavaria, he did not hesi- 
tate to espouse the cause of Carobert, the son of his sister 
Clementia, and the candidate supported by Boniface vin., 
with whom Albert had reconciled himself in 1302. For a 
time the Bohemian power proved too strong, but the death of 
Wenzel n. (June, 1305) and the growing discontent in 
Hungary with the conduct of the young king, enabled Caro- 
bert to secure the crown, though his title was disputed for a 
time by Otto of Wittelsbach. 

In the next year (August, 1306) the murder of the young 
Wenzel in. left the Bohemian crown itself vacant. The sister 
of the late king had married Henry of Carinthia succession in 
and Tyrol, the brother of Albert's wife. 1 In spite Bohemia - 
of this relationship Albert claimed the kingdom as a vacant 
fief, and conferred it upon his eldest son Rudolf. The 
consent of the Bohemian nobles was extorted or purchased, 
and an agreement that Rudolfs brothers should succeed if he 
himself died childless, seemed to secure to the Hapsburgs 
the permanent possession of a kingdom which, added to their 
Austrian territories, would make them all-powerful on the 
1 See Genealogical Table A, in Appendix. 

16 European History \ 1273- 1494 

eastern frontier of Germany. This was the greatest of 
Albert's achievements, and, if the acquisition had been perma- 
nent, would have made his reign as important in Hapsburg 
history as his father's had been. But his last years were 
clouded with disappointment. An attempt to renew his pre- 
decessor's claims upon Meissen and Thuringia was repulsed 
by Frederick of Wettin, who defeated the royal army, under 
Frederick of Hohenzollern, near Altenburg (May 31, 1307). 
This defeat was followed by the sudden death, on July 4, of 
the youthful Rudolf of Bohemia. The Bohemians had tired 
of Hapsburg rule, and in spite of the agreement made at 
Rudolfs election, they now offered the crown to Henry of 
Albert's Carinthia. Albert had already made one incur- 

death. s i on m to Bohemia, and was preparing another, 

when he was treacherously murdered by his nephew, John 
(May 1, 1308). 

John was the son of Albert's brother Rudolf and Agnes, 
daughter of Ottokar, and seems to have resented his uncle's 
refusal either to support his candidature for the Bohemian 
crown, or to give him any share of the Hapsburg territories. 
The assassination, therefore, was the result of mere personal 
pique, but it was as important as if it had arisen from a deep- 
laid political scheme. If Albert had lived longer he would 
very probably have established his son Frederick in Bohemia, 
and rendered his election to the German kingship inevitable. 
In that case the Hapsburgs might have founded a territorial 
monarchy in Germany, and the House of Luxemburg would 
never have risen from obscurity. The complaint that Albert 
neglected to enforce imperial pretensions in Italy is well 
founded, but should rather be set to the credit of his political 
sagacity. The Italian connection was fatal to the best in- 
terests of Germany. A far more serious criticism is his 
failure to resist the aggressions of France. He aided the 
House of Anjou to acquire the crown of Hungary in addition 
to that of Naples, and although for the moment Charles 
Robert's candidature was opposed by Philip iv., it was certain 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum \y 

that in the long-run the Angevin and Capet interests would 
combine the two families. He made no opposition to the 
transference of the papal residence from Rome to Avignon, 
though the disadvantage to Germany was obvious when 
Clement v. filled the Rhenish archbishoprics with partisans 
of France. 

It resulted from these changes that French influence was 
very prominent in the election of 1308, and was strong enough 
to secure the exclusion of Albert's heir, Frederick Election of 
the Handsome. Philip iv.'s brother, Charles of Henry vn. 
Valois, came forward as a candidate and was openly sup- 
ported by the Pope. But the secular princes were strong 
enough to resist such a sacrifice of German interests to 
ecclesiastical pressure, although their own interests prevented 
them from supporting the Hapsburg. At this juncture, the 
Archbishop Baldwin of Trier (appointed in 1307) suggested 
as a compromise the choice of his brother, Henry of Luxem- 
burg. He was the descendant of the counts of Limburg and 
Arlon, who had acquired Luxemburg by marriage in 12 14. 
His territorial power was too small to inspire jealousy in 
Germany, while he was connected with France by education 
and by military service in the war against Edward 1. As no 
other candidate had any chance of election, Henry vn. was 
chosen without opposition on October 28, 1308. The Haps- 
burgs found it necessary to acknowledge the new king on 
condition of receiving confirmation of their fiefs. 

The personal career of Henry vn. belongs rather to the 
history of Italy than that of Germany, and will be considered 
in the following chapter. From the first he Tt a i iancx . 
seems to have looked on Germany as a foreigner, petition, 
and abandoned the policy of his predecessor for the wild dream 
of reviving the imperial power of the Hohenstaufen in Italy 
at the head of the Ghibelline party. In 13 10 he set out on 
his southern expedition, which resulted in little beyond his 
coronation in Rome (June 29, 131 2). He never returned to 
Germany. But before his departure he took some steps 

1 8 European History, 1273- 1494 

which were fraught with future consequence. To conciliate 
the princes he withdrew the concessions by which Albert had 
Concessions purchased the support of the towns. In 13 10 
to the princes, he prohibited the creation of pfahlburger, and 
restored their tolls to the Rhenish princes. In the same 
year he seized the opportunity to obtain a great acquisition 
for his family. The Bohemians were in rebellion against 
Henry of Carinthia, and offered the crown to Henry vn.'s son, 
John of John, on condition that he should marry Eliza- 

Bohemia. beth, daughter of Wenzel 11. The offer was 
accepted; but so little did Henry care even for his family 
interests in comparison with his chimerical schemes, that he 
did not delay his advance into Italy, and left the securing of 
his son's throne to the Archbishop of Mainz, Peter von 
Aspelt. Fortunately, the enterprise did not require his 
presence. Henry of Carinthia was expelled, and John of 
Luxemburg was firmly seated on the Bohemian throne. 

During the Italian expedition, which ended in Henry vn.'s 
death near Siena (August 24, 13 13), the interests of the 
France seizes German monarchy were neglected, the princes 
Lyons. were left in complete independence, and Philip iv. 

was enabled to carry on his aggressions with impunity. In 
1 3 10 he took advantage of a dispute between the archbishop 
and the citizens of Lyons to send French troops into the city, 
and in 13 1 2 the former was compelled to make a treaty by 
which he acknowledged the suzerainty of France. 

Forty years had now elapsed since the close of the Great 
Interregnum. The kingly office had been revived, and had 
been held by four princes, each of whom had 
period M73' ° shown considerable vigour and capacity. But 
1313 in German the absence of hereditary succession had rendered 
impossible the pursuit of any efficient scheme 
for the enforcement of central authority and the repression of 
princely independence. The greatest successes in this 
direction had been gained by Albert 1., but they had 
been rendered nugatory by his untimely death and by his 

Germany and the Empire after the Interregnum 19 

successor's absorption in dreams of reviving the universal 
empire. Germany in 13 13, as in 1273, was a mere bundle of 
states under a nominal head, while its neighbours England 
and France had been receiving a strong national organisation 
under the capable rule of Edward 1. and Philip iv. That 
Germany escaped for a century from the worst conse- 
quences of her disunion was mainly due to the jarring 
interests of the neighbouring states which led to the Hundred 
Years' War. 

But it is misleading to regard the history of these forty 
years as a mere chronicle of heroic efforts ending in hopeless 
failure. The very divisions of Germany, while they weakened 
its nationality, gave greater scope and variety to local develop- 
ment. From this period we date the rise to greatness of the 
two vigorous dynasties of Luxemburg and Hapsburg. To 
it we have also to look for the first origins of the Swiss Con- 
federation [see chap, vii.], for the rise of the Hanseatic 
League [see chap, xviii.], and for the establishment of a great 
territorial power in Prussia by the Teutonic Order [see chap, 
xix.]. It is necessary to follow the fortunes of the monarchy 
in order to understand why German development was so 
different from that of other contemporary states, but the real 
interest of German history is to be found in the vigorous 
growth of these political organisations on the extremities 
rather than in the declining vitality of the central power. 



Italy in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries — Causes of Italian disunion 
— The Guelfs and Ghibellines — The Italian towns — The House of Anjou 
in Naples — The Sicilian Vespers — The Popes and their States — Celestine 
v. is succeeded by Boniface viii. — The last of the Mediaeval Popes — The 
difficulties of Benedict XX. and Clement v.— The retirement of Clement v. 
to Avignon and beginning of the ' Babylonish Captivity' — The condition 
of Tuscany — The Florentine Constitution — Genoa and Milan — The 
Venetian Constitution— Henry vii. makes an Expedition into Italy- 
Its failure— Death of Henry vii. 

The two centuries which are treated in this volume constitute 

the most brilliant period in Italian history since the age of 

Augustus. The absence of any central authority, 

Italy in the . ?, .. , J , , . , f 

fourteenth which disappeared even more completely in Italy 
and fifteenth t h an j n Germany, opened the way for the growth 

centuries. _ . / ,. • , . , 

of a number of political organisations, whose 
history is as fascinating as their variety is bewildering. In 
addition to the great dynasties of Anjou, Visconti, and 
Medici, we have to watch the fortunes of the great re- 
publics of Venice, Florence, and Genoa, of the temporal states 
of the Church, and of a number of lesser families, such as the 
House of Este in Ferrara, the della Scalas in Verona, the Gon- 
zagas in Mantua, the Montefeltri in Urbino, whose kaleido- 
scopic changes are narrated with such wealth of detail in the 
volumes of Sismondi. But what gives its special importance 
to the history of this period is that in it Italy becomes the 
teacher of Europe. It is to Italy that we trace that great 
movement, known as the Renaissance, which began with the 
revival of classical learning, but led on to the growth of 

Italy and the Papacy, 1273-1313 21 

national literatures, to the rise of a new spirit in the arts of 
painting and sculpture, and to the enfranchisement of human 
thought from the fetters of superstition, routine, and the 
formulas of scholasticism. In the fifteenth century, Italy 
originated the art of writing history as distinguished from the 
compilation of mediaeval chronicles. And finally, Italy 
instructed Europe in politics as well as in letters and art. 
The foremost European rulers of the sixteenth century learnt 
the maxims of government from Italian princes and Italian 
writers : the great states of modern times learnt from Italy the 
practices of diplomacy and the theory of the balance of power. 
Political science, which had made no progress since the days 
of Aristotle, was revived by the writings of Machiavelli and 

Yet Italy profited less than any other state from the 
lessons which she taught. France, England, and Spain, all 
of them the pupils of Italy, became strong, united, and 
wealthy states, while Italy herself, in the very middle of an 
intellectual and artistic activity which has remained the 
wonder of the world, subsided into political insignificance, 
and only finds a place in subsequent history as the stage on 
which other nations fight out their quarrels. The solution 
of this crucial problem, the combination of intellectual 
progress with political decadence, can only be Cause8of 
found in a careful study of the conditions which Italian dis. 
prevented the people of Italy from following the union - 
normal tendencies of the period, and becoming a nation. 
The causes of disunion are too numerous and deep-seated 
to be summed up in a few sentences. But it may be 
instructive to form a clear conception, at starting, of some of 
the most notable conditions which influenced the course of 
Italian history in the period which we have to consider. In 
the first place, geography in Italy, as in Greece, tended to 
disunion. The Apennines cut off the Lombard plain from 
the rest of Italy, and divided the latter into two unequal 
parts which were again split up by the lateral offshoots into 

22 European History ', 1273- 1494 

divisions, not quite so small as those of Greece, but almost 
equally marked off. The nominal subjection to an elective 
emperor, who was also king of Germany, rendered im- 
possible the rise of any strong native power which could weld 
together the separate political units. The influence of the 
Papacy, which in the thirteenth century combined the 
sovereignty of an Italian state with the spiritual head- 
ship of Latin Christendom, proved almost as great an 
obstacle as the Empire to national union. The great length 
of Italy, by increasing isolation, hindered the growth 
of common interests. The leagues occasionally founded 
for common aims, such as the Lombard league against 
Frederick Barbarossa and the league of Venice against 
Charles vin., were never more than temporary alliances, 
and fell to pieces as soon as their immediate object was 

The long quarrel between the Popes and the Hohen- 
staufen Emperors bequeathed a fatal heritage to Italy in the 
Gueifsand party feuds of Guelfs and Ghibellines. These 
Ghibeiiines. famous factions not only set one state against 
another, but also gave rise to violent discord within each state. 
And the parties lasted long after the original cause of quarrel 
had come to an end. When the Hohenstaufen had perished 
with Manfred and Conradin, when Rudolf of Hapsburg had 
abandoned all imperial claims over central and southern Italy 
when the Papacy itself had quitted Italy to find a home on 
the further boundary of Provence, it seemed as if party feuds 
must inevitably die out for want of the fuel which had 
originally kindled them. But the blaze of mutual hatred 
continued to rage as fiercely as ever. The famous strife of 
the Bianchi and Neri in Florence, which drove Dante into 
exile from his native city, was fought out when Albert 1. and 
Boniface vm. were in close alliance. These stereotyped and 
quasi-hereditary feuds were not only destructive of all sense of 
nationality, but they were strong enough to overpower the far 
stronger an£ more local sentiment of common citizenship. 

Italy and the Papacy \ 1273-1313 23 

Perhaps the strongest of all the disruptive forces in Italy 
was the development, in the northern and central provinces, 
of the municipality or commune as the normal The Com 
unit of political life. This applies not only to mune as a 
the republics proper, but also to those cities P° litical unit - 
whose liberties were overthrown by the rise of some 
dominant family. The subjection of lesser cities by more 
powerful neighbours did not create a state in which all 
subjects stood in an equal relation of submission to a 
despotic government, but one in which subject communes 
were enslaved by a dominant commune, and were excluded 
by it from all voice in the government. The citizens of 
Pavia and Cremona were not the direct subjects of the 
Visconti on a level with the Milanese themselves. They 
were the subjects of Milan, and were ruled by Milanese 
governors, just as Pisa and Pistoia were ruled by Florentines. 
The absorption of the lesser cities continued, until in the 
fifteenth century Italy practically consisted of five dominant 
states — Naples, Milan, Venice, Florence, and the Papacy. 
The result was the creation of a large subject population, 
deprived of that share in politics which Italian citizens had 
learnt in earlier times to consider their dearest right, and 
constituting a permanent and dangerous element of dis- 
content. It was from this population that the condottieri 
recruited those mercenary armies to which Italian writers 
agree in attributing the disasters that befel their country, and 
it was this population which welcomed foreign invasion as a 
chance of escaping from domestic oppressions. Commines 
tells us that the Italians ' welcomed as saints ' the French 
army that followed Charles vm. to Naples, and the phrase 
is significant of the unsoundness of the political condition of 
Italy and of the utter absence of any sense of nationality. 

The quarrel between Frederick 11. and the Popes had 
been embittered by the former's possession of Naples and 
Sicily, which brought him into threatening proximity to the 
territories in central Italy which the Popes claimed to rule 

24 European History, 1273- 1494 

To drive the Hohenstaufen from Italian soil the Popes 
did not hesitate to call in foreign assistance. After a vain 
'he House attempt to draw England into the quarrel, the 
jf Anjou crown of Sicily was offered as a papal fief to 
in Naples. Charles of Anjou, the brother of Louis ix., and 
Count of Provence through his wife Beatrix. At the battle 
of Grandella near Benevento (February 26, 1266) Manfred, 
the illegitimate son of Frederick 11., was slain ; and the still 
more famous battle of Tagliacozzo (August 23, 1268) was 
followed by the capture and execution of Conradin, the last 
male representative of the House of Hohenstaufen. These 
two victories secured Charles's possession of Naples and Sicily, 
though the marriage of Manfred's daughter, Constance, to 
Peter in. of Aragon created a rival claim which proved a 
source of subsequent danger. 

As the acknowledged head of the Guelf party, which was 
for the moment supreme, Charles of Anjou seemed likely to 
establish his ascendency over the greater part of Italy. The 
Pope, claiming supremacy during the Interregnum, appointed 
him imperial vicar and senator of Rome, while a number of 
cities in Tuscany and Lombardy acknowledged his lordship. 
But his ambitious schemes were suddenly checked by the 
very power of which he posed as the champion. The Papacy 
discovered that it had called in a protector who might prove 
as dangerous a neighbour as the Hohenstaufen. Gregory x. 
and Nicolas in., secured in their position by the concessions 
of Rudolf of Hapsburg, did not hesitate to oppose the further 
progress of the Neapolitan kings by a policy of mediation be- 
tween the Guelfs and Ghibellines. The election of Martin iv. 
(February 24, 1281), a creature of Charles, seemed to offer 
a new opportunity for Angevin aggression. The ascendency 
of the Guelf faction was revived, and Charles was plan- 
ning an enterprise against Constantinople, when he was 
Sicilian arrested by the news of a great disaster. The 

Vespers, 1282. Sicilians had long resented the harshness of 
French rule, and John of Procida, an old partisan of the 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 273- 1 3 1 3 25 

Hohenstaufen, had returned from his refuge in Aragon to 
encourage the malcontents and to secure for them foreign 
assistance. His plans were still incomplete, when a sudden 
rising at Palermo was provoked by a brutal insult offered to 
a woman by a French soldier during a procession on Easter 
Monday (March 30, 1282). The people rose with shouts of 
4 Death to the French ! ' and more than four thousand men, 
women, and children were massacred that evening. The 
whole of Sicily joined in the rebellion, and offered the crown 
to Peter in. of Aragon. When Peter arrived in August he 
found that Charles, thirsting for vengeance, had Houseof 
already laid siege to Messina. But the Catalan Aragon in 
fleet under Roger di Loria, the most distinguished Slcll y- 
naval commander of his time, was too formidable to be 
faced by the mere transport vessels with which Charles was 
provided. Sicily was perforce evacuated, and was never 
recovered by the House of Anjou. The Sicilian Vespers 
gave rise to a twenty years' struggle, which concerns the 
history of France and Spain as well as Italy. The Pope 
decreed Peter's deposition, both in Sicily and in Aragon, and 
offered the latter crown to Charles of Valois, the second 
son of Philip the Fair. But papal bulls failed to overcome 
Aragonese obstinacy and Sicilian devotion. In 1283 Charles's 
son of the same name was captured in a naval battle by 
Roger di Loria, and remained a prisoner for the next five 
years. In 1285 Charles 1. of Anjou died (January 7), after a 
career which had known no failure till towards its close. The 
same year witnessed the successive deaths of Pope Martin iv. 
(March 12) and of Peter in. (November 11). The latter was 
succeeded in Aragon by his eldest son Alfonso, and in Sicily 
by his second son James. In 1288 the mediation of Edward 1. 
of England resulted in the conclusion of a treaty by which 
Charles 11. of Anjou was released to take possession of the 
Neapolitan crown, and Sicily was confirmed to the House of 
Aragon. But the treaty was never observed. No sooner was 
Charles 11. free than Nicolas iv. absolved him from his obliga- 

26 European History, 1273- 1494 

tions, recognised him as king of the Two Sicilies on the same 
terms as his father, and renewed the excommunication against 
James. The war continued without a break. In 1291 
Alfonso died, and James succeeded to the crown of Aragon. 
Wearied of the long struggle, and anxious to free his Spanish 
kingdom from the attacks of Charles of Valois, James agreed 
to renounce the crown of Sicily. But the Sicilians refused to 
return to French rule, and raised to the throne Frederick, the 
youngest son of Peter in., who continued the struggle even 
in opposition to his own brother. At last, in 1302, after an 
unsuccessful attack on Sicily by Charles of Valois, peace 
was concluded. Frederick was to marry Charles n.'s sister 
Eleanor, and to retain the kingdom of Sicily during his life- 
time, but on his death it was to revert to the House of Anjou. 
This last stipulation was never fulfilled, and Sicily and Naples 
remained under separate rulers till 1435, when they were re- 
united under an Aragonese king. The only other notable 
event in the reign of Charles 11. of Naples was the acquisition 
of the Hungarian crown by his grandson, Carobert, which has 
been already narrated (see p. 15). In 1309 Charles 11. died, 
and the crown of Naples passed to his second son, Robert, 
the superior hereditary claims of Carobert of Hungary being 
passed over. For the next thirty-four years Robert was the 
acknowledged head of the Guelf party in Italy. 

To the north of the kingdom of Naples lay the temporal 
dominions which the Popes claimed by virtue of real or 
The Papal pretended donations from Emperors and others, 
states. These territories had by this time reached the 

boundaries which they retained to the nineteenth century. 
They included the whole of Romagna, the Pentapolis, the 
March of Ancona, and the Patrimony of St. Peter, with the 
city of Rome and the Campagna. The concordat with 
Rudolf of Hapsburg abolished all imperial suzerainty over 
these districts, and thus secured to the Papacy a territorial 
principality which Frederick 11. had threatened to annihilate. 
But the victory, great as it appeared, was in reality deceptive. 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 273- 1 3 1 3 27 

It had been won with the aid of the House of Anjou, whose 
protection might easily be converted into an oppressive 
patronage. And the difficulties of temporal rule were a 
serious addition to those of the spiritual oversight of Christen- 
dom, especially as the Popes were usually elected in advanced 
years, and their tenure of office was necessarily brief. More 
than two centuries elapsed before papal suzerainty in central 
Italy developed into direct papal government; and during 
that period the absorption in secular interests not only diverted 
the attention of the Popes from their higher duties, but also 
tended to lower their estimation in the eyes of Europe. The 
localisation of the Papacy in central Italy, while it gave some 
appearance of security to the papal power, really degraded it, 
just as the identification with the German monarchy degraded 
the dignity of the Empire. 

There is little reason to linger over the history of the 
individuals who fill the papal chair from the end of the 
Interregnum till the departure to Avignon. The Popes, 
Gregory x. (1271-1276), elected after a vacancy "7a-«9<>. 
of nearly three years, was a man of high character and ability, 
but he did not rule long enough to accomplish any great ends. 
He set himself to restore order in Germany, to put an end to 
party strife in Italy, and to check the arrogant ambition of 
Charles of Naples. The council which he held at Lyons in 
1274 is chiefly notable for the regulations drawn up to prevent 
delays and external intervention in papal elections. Ten days 
after the death of a Pope, the cardinals present on the spot 
were to be shut up in conclave, and were to remain excluded 
from intercourse with the outside world until they had agreed 
on the choice of a successor. Gregory's short-lived successors 
were mainly occupied with their relations with Naples, with 
party struggles in Italy, and with the growth of the noble 
families in Rome. Temporal dominion, in which hereditary 
succession was impossible, brought with it the vice of nepotism, 
the desire to make the most of a short tenure of office for the 
aggrandisement of relatives. Nicolas in. (1277- 1280) bestowed 

28 European History \ 1273- 1494 

lavish grants on the great House of Orsini, to which he 
belonged; Martin iv. (1 281-1285) was a mere puppet of 
Charles of Anjou, and resided in his company at Viterbo ; 
Honorius iv. (1 285-1 287) was a Savelli, and exalted his family 
at the expense of the Orsini; while Nicolas iv. (1 288-1 292) 
raised the Cclonna as a counterpoise to the other two families. 
From this time the history of Rome was filled with the 
feuds of these great baronial houses, and they exercised a 
most disastrous influence on the spiritual as well as on the 
temporal position of the Popes. 

On the death of Nicolas iv. these baronial factions were so 
predominant and so evenly balanced in the conclave that no 
Ceiestine v., election could take place for two years. At last, 
"94- in 1294, a sudden impulse induced the cardinals 

to throw aside all secular considerations and to offer the 
highest ecclesiastical dignity to a man whose only claim was 
his reputation for sanctity. Ceiestine v. had for years lived 
a hermit's life in a cave near Sulmona. His election was a 
unique experiment in papal history, and it was unsuccessful. 
Personal piety was no sufficient substitute for the worldly 
wisdom and experience required for the occupant of the papal 
chair. After five months he was persuaded to abdicate, and 
he ultimately died (May, 1296) in a prison to which he was 
consigned by his successor, Boniface vm. 

The pontificate of Boniface vm. is by far the most im- 
portant of this period. He has been called the last of the 
Boniface mediaeval Popes. He was certainly the last who 
vm., 1294- attempted to exercise that general authority over 
I303 " Christendom which Gregory vii. had claimed and 

Innocent in. had acquired. His complete failure proved how 
little the Papacy really profited by its victory over the Empire. 
In order to weaken the authority of the Emperors, the Popes 
had encouraged the growing nationality of the outlying 
kingdoms, forgetful that they were forging a weapon which 
might be used against themselves. Honorius in. and Inno- 
cent iv. had waged a desperate struggle against Frederick n. 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 2 7 3 - 1 3 1 3 29 

But the defeat of the Hohenstaufen did not, as they expected, 
leave the Papacy supreme. Boniface vin. found equally 
formidable opponents in Edward 1. of England and Philip iv. 
of France. The Papacy might defeat the Empire, because 
the latter was opposed to all the tendencies of the age, but 
it was powerless against the force of national development. 
To coerce the French and English kings, who refused to 
submit to his arbitration, Boniface issued the bull Clericis 
laicos which forbade the clergy to pay taxes to the secular 
power. Edward 1. replied by outlawing the clergy, and 
forced them to acknowledge their membership of the state 
and to contribute to its support. Philip iv. retaliated by 
prohibiting the export of money from France, and thus cut ofl 
French contributions to Rome. When the Pope claimed 
Scotland as a papal fief and forbade any further English 
invasions, Edward I. brought the bull before a parliament at 
Lincoln (1301), which decreed that the king should not 
answer before the Pope on any question concerning his 
temporal rights. Philip iv. met the exorbitant papal pre- 
tensions by a similar protest from the national representatives 
at a meeting of the States-General (1302). And the French 
king did not content himself with verbal protests. Taking 
advantage of the discontent of the Colonnas, French troops 
entered Anagni, where Boniface was residing, and for a 
few days kept him a prisoner. This insult was a terrible 
blow to the proud Pope, and a few weeks later he died 
(October, 1303). 

Benedict xi., the new Pope, had a difficult task to avoid 
either a degrading submission to France or a new quarrel 
with Philip iv. and the Colonnas. To escape Benedict xi., 
intimidation he withdrew to Perugia, and for a x 3<>3-i3°4. 
time succeeded in maintaining a conciliatory but not dis- 
honourable attitude. At last he found it necessary to issue 
a bull against the chief authors of the outrage at Anagni 
(June 29, 1304). Four weeks later the Pope was dead, and 
contemporaries were almost unanimous in attributing his 

30 European History, 12; '3-1494 

death to poison. The posthumous reputation of Boni- 
face viii. was now the vital question at issue, and the 
cardinals were almost evenly divided into a French party 
which condemned him, and an Italian party which ana- 
thematised his assailants. So irreconcilable were the two 
parties that the cardinals, though shut up in the palace 
at Perugia in accordance with the constitution of Gregory x., 
spent ten months in the vain attempt to choose a new Pope. 
At last the deadlock was terminated by a strange com- 
promise. The supporters of Boniface were to name three 
non-Italian prelates, and the hostile party was to choose one 
of them. One of the three was the Archbishop of Bordeaux, 
whose diocese lay within the dominions of Edward 1. His 
selection was due to the belief that he was the bitter enemy of 
Clement v., the French king. But tradition maintained that 
1305-1313- Philip iv. contrived to buy him over to his side, 
and he was chosen Pope as Clement v. The coronation cere- 
mony took place at Lyons, and the new Pope never ventured 
into Italy. His pontificate was one long struggle to avoid or to 
moderate the concessions which Philip expected from him. The 
charges against Boniface were ultimately referred to a council 
at Vienna, which exonerated his memory. But on most 
points Clement had to follow the wishes of the French king, 
especially in the condemnation of the Templars. In 1309 
Clement v. fixed his residence at Avignon, which was not 
then a French town, and was probably chosen partly for that 
reason, and partly for its neighbourhood to the Venaissin, 
already a papal possession. But Avignon was in Provence, 
which was held by the House of Anjou, and it was only 
separated from France by the Rhone. As long as the Popes 
continued to live there, they were exposed to overwhelming 
French influence, and could hardly escape the charge, made 
both from England and Germany, that they were mere 
vassals of the king of France. It says much for the vitality 
of the papal system that the ' Babylonish captivity,' as the 
next seventy years have been called, did not result in the 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 273- 1 3 1 3 31 

complete loss, not only of the Italian provinces, but of all 
spiritual authority in Europe. 

The district of Tuscany, which lies to the north-west of 
the Papal States, had been split up since the death of the 
Countess Matilda into a number of city states, 
mostly republics, but which from time to time 
were subject to native or foreign despots. Siena, which 
became in the fifteenth century mistress of southern Tuscany, 
had not yet risen into prominence and never ranked among 
the great states of Italy. Pisa, hitherto the most powerful of 
the Tuscan communes and one of the greatest of Italian 
ports, began to decline when the restoration of the Eastern 
Empire (1261) established the ascendency of Genoa in the 
Levant. In the naval struggle which followed, the two 
republics were fairly evenly balanced ; but a great Genoese 
victory off the island of Meloria (1284) inflicted a blow from 
which Pisa never recovered, though she retained her inde- 
pendence for another century. Lucca rose to some importance 
under Castruccio Castracani, and from time to time success- 
fully resisted the aggressions of Florence, but has no 
continuous history that attracts attention. By far the most 
important of the Tuscan cities was Florence, destined to be 
for a brilliant period the chief home of Italian 

... . Florence. 

art and literature, to acquire the supremacy over 
the whole of Tuscany, and to become for a few years in the 
present century the capital of an Italian kingdom. It is at 
the end of the thirteenth century that the foundation was laid 
of the Florentine constitution, which has always attracted 
special attention on account both of its own peculiarities and 
of the greatness of the city in which it grew up. 

No city in Italy had been more convulsed than Florence 
by the struggle between Guelfs and Ghibellines, and these 
factions were the more embittered against each constitution 
other by their coincidence with class distinctions. °f Florence. 
The feudal nobles, although by no means united, were pre- 
ponderantly Ghibelline, while the wealthy burghers were 

32 European History \ 1273- 1494 

inclined to the cause of the Papacy and Charles of Anjou. 
After the defeat of Manfred in 1266 the supremacy of the 
Guelfs was established, and was never overthrown from that 
date. For some years the government was moderate and 
pacific, but the news of the Sicilian Vespers in 1282 fright- 
ened the Guelfs into an attempt to secure their power by 
constitutional changes. The existing magistrates were super- 
.... .« • . . seded by the Priori delle Arti' at first three and 

The ' Prion.' ' . . ' 

afterwards six in number. These constituted the 
signory and held the chief executive power. They were 
chosen from the seven greater guilds (arti maggiori) and held 
office for two months at a time, re-election being forbidden 
(divieto) until after an interval of two years. The greater 
guilds, which had long existed as trade corporations before 
their rise to political importance, consisted of the Ca/ima/a, 
or cloth merchants, the wool-weavers, the bankers, the silk 
manufacturers, physicians, furriers and lawyers. About the 
same time a number of lesser guilds (arti minort) were 
organised, and their number increased within the next sixteen 
years to fourteen. Henceforth we can trace the existence 
of four main divisions of the people of Florence: (1) the 
grandi, or nobles ; (2) the popolo grasso, the members of the 
seven greater guilds ; (3) the popolo minuto, or members of 
the fourteen lesser guilds ; (4) the ciompi, though this name 
is of later origin, including those citizens who had no guild 
organisation, and therefore no machinery either for self- 
government or for influencing the conduct of public business. 
By the constitution of 1282 the nobles were not excluded 
from office, but if they wished to qualify themselves for it they 
had to enter a guild. Many of them fulfilled this condition, 
and several nobles held the office of prior during the next ten 
years. But class jealousies continued to create domestic 
Ordinances of quarrels, and in 1293 Giano della Bella, himself 
justice, 1293. f noble origin, proposed and carried the famous 
'Ordinances of Justice.' To qualify for office a man must 
really practise the trade or craft to which he belonged. The 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 273- 1 3 1 3 33 

grandi were not only to be excluded from any share in the 
government, but they were subjected to serious social dis- 
qualifications. In time of disorder they were confined to 
their houses on penalty of exile. A noble could not accuse 
a citizen or bear witness against him without the consent of 
the signory, and the severest penalties were imposed on a 
noble who wounded or killed a citizen. The duty of enforc- 
ing these ordinances was intrusted to a specially The Gon- 
created official, the gonfalonier of justice, who falon »e r - 
was to be appointed every two months and was to be a 
member of the signory. The gonfalonier, who was intrusted 
with the command of a large force of infantry, became the 
most dignified officer of the state, though his actual powers 
were not greater than those of the priors. From this time 
one of the harshest penalties was to confer nobility upon a 
political offender, and the greatest reward that could be 
conferred upon a deserving grande was to degrade him to 
the rank of a citizen. To protect the signory from attack a 
fortified Palazzo Pubblico was built for their reception, a 
building which is now famous as the Palazzo Vecchio. 

Although the actual government of Florence from 1293 
may be considered to be a plutocracy, in that the actual 
conduct of affairs was monopolised by the wealthy The Pariia- 
burghers, yet the constitution possessed a real ment - 
democratic basis. The ultimate power of making any con- 
stitutional change rested with the parlamento, a mass meeting 
of all citizens in the great piazza. Such a meeting could at 
any time appoint a da/ia, i.e. a committee with full powers to 
alter the laws ; and it was by this method that most of the 
revolutions in Florentine history were accomplished. 

Early in the fourteenth century the Florentine constitution 
assumed the main features which it retained till the fall of 
the republic. In 132 1 a disastrous war with The'Buon- 
Castruccio Castracani discredited the signory, and u °niini. 
displayed the weakness of a government which changed 
every two months. To remedy this, a council of twelve 


34 European History, 1273- 1494 

buonuomini was created, two from each sesto or district. 
They were to hold office for six months instead of two, and 
the signory was to take no important step without consulting 
them. Two years later a far more important change was 
made, when the system of filling offices by lot was introduced. 
Hitherto the members of the outgoing administration had 
elected their successors. But the city was disquieted by 
factious quarrels at each election, and there was no security 
The • Squit- for that equality which was rapidly becoming a 
tinio,'i323. passion among the Florentines, In 1323 it was 
determined to hold a squittinio, or scrutiny, every two 
years in place of the elections every two months. A com- 
mittee was formed of the signory for the time being with the 
councils of the greater guilds and other influential citizens. 
A list was drawn up of all citizens qualified for office by age 
and by being clear of debt to the state (netti di specchio). 
Their names were then put up to ballot in the committee. 
The voting was by black and white beans, the former being 
in favour of the candidate. All the names which received not 
less than two-thirds of the black beans were placed in bags 
(imborsare), and from these bags they were drawn to fill 
vacancies as they arose. When the bags were empty a new 
squittinio became necessary. It resulted from this system 
that qualified citizens had a fairly equal chance of selection, 
but there was no security that offices would go to the most 
capable, and the arrangement was liable to serious abuses. 
The party which could obtain a majority in the selecting 
committee (ba/ia), was certain to secure most of the offices 
for its own partisans for at least two years. 

By 1323 the Florentine constitution had assumed a fairly 
definite shape. At its head stood the gonfalonier of justice 
and the six priors, who had the chief conduct of affairs 
and the right of initiating legislation. Then came the twelve 
buonuomini, who were a sort of privy council to the signory, 
and served as a check on its power. Next in rank were the 
capitano del popolo, once the chief magistrate of the city, and 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 273- 1 3 1 3 35 

the sixteen gonfaloniers of companies, who were responsible 
for police and military arrangements. These were known as 
the three greater offices (1 tre maggiori). In critical times 
special magistracies were sometimes created for a limited 
time, such as the eight of war (otto di guerra\ or the ten of 
the sea {died del mare). There were two legislative councils : 
the consiglio del popolo, three hundred in number, containing 
only popolant ; and the consiglio del commune, numbering two 
hundred and fifty, to which nobles were also admitted. Besides 
the regular municipal magistracies, there was an The ' Parte 
important body, the parte guelf a, which exercised Guelfa -' 
very great political influence. This corporation, which had 
its own captains and council, had been formed after the great 
Guelf victory of 1267 to administer the confiscated property 
of the exiled Ghibellines. Its great wealth and efficient 
organisation were employed for the assiduous maintenance of 
Guelf ascendency, and in later times for resisting the claims 
of the lower classes to a voice in the government. 

Of the northern states only three deserve special mention 
at this time. Genoa, isolated in the north-western corner and 
surrounded by mountains, plays a very slight part 
in the general history of Italy, though it has some 
considerable importance as commanding the direct route from 
Provence to the peninsula. The energies of its citizens were 
mainly absorbed in the acquisition of wealth by eastern trade, 
in maintaining wars with Pisa and Venice, and in the inces- 
sant feuds of the great families of Doria and Spinola. 
Milan, which had long held a predominant position among 
the Lombard towns, was already beginning to lose 
its republican independence. There, as in Flor- 
ence, class divisions were mixed up with the quarrels of factions. 
In 1259 the Guelf leader, Martino della Torre, headed the 
citizens in a successful struggle against the Ghibelline nobles, 
and took advantage of his victory to assume the lordship of 
the city. The neighbouring towns of Lodi, Como, Vercelli, 
and Bergamo fell one after another under the rule of the 

36 European History, 1273- 1494 

Delia Torre. But in 1277 a revolution was effected by the 
Ghibellines under the Archbishop of Milan, Otto Visconti, 
to whom the lordship of the city was transferred, and from 
whom it passed on his death in 1295 t0 hi s nephew Matteo 
Visconti, the ancestor of the later dukes of Milan. But the 
Visconti dynasty was not yet permanently established, and in 
1302 a Guelf league was formed among the chief Lombard 
towns which forced Matteo to withdraw, and Guido della 
Torre became the ruler of Milan. 

Venice, the last of the important northern states, was even 

more isolated from Italy than Genoa, both by geography and 

by its absorbing interests in the Levant. The 


overthrow of the Greek Empire in 1204 had given 
Venice a commanding position in the east, but the restoration 
of 1 261 had raised a very formidable rival in Genoa, and 
for more than a century the two republics were engaged in a 
series of costly and exhausting wars. But the main interest 
of Venetian history at this time lies in the building up of 
that oligarchical constitution which gave to Venice a vigour 
and consistency of political action quite unique in Italy, and 
enabled her in the fifteenth century to establish a very formid- 
able power on the mainland. 

The institutions of Venice, though sufficiently alien from 
modern usages, were simplicity itself as compared with those of 
Constitution Florence. This simplicity is due primarily to 
of Venice. th e en tire absence in Venice of a landed nobility, 
whose power had to be overthrown in other Italian cities by 
a series of revolts on the part of the citizens, and also to the 
fact that Venice remained completely untouched by the 
faction fights of Guelfs and Ghibellines. At the head of the 

state stood the doge, elected for life, and in early 

The Doge. . , ° ' . _ J 

times possessed of almost autocratic power. But 
his authority had been gradually limited by the compulsory 
association of councillors, by the exaction of a solemn oath 
on election (promissione ducale), and by the creation of new 
institutions. By the fourteenth century the doge had 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 273- 1 3 1 3 37 

become an ornamental sovereign, surrounded by great pomp 
and ceremonial, presiding in all assemblies, but possessed of 
no power of initiation and of no means of exerting more than 
personal influence. A doge of strong character might still 
mould the destinies of Venice, but it was by persuading his 
colleagues, not by the exercise of any regal authority. The 
election of the doge rested originally with the whole people. 
In 1 1 72 a council, which grew into the Maggior Consiglio, was 
intrusted with the task, which was gradually delegated to 
small committees chosen in various ways. At last, in 1268, 
the elaborate system was adopted which lasted till the fall of 
the republic. All members of the Grand Council over thirty 
years of age drew balls from an urn, and thirty of these balls 
were gilt. The thirty who drew the gilt balls were reduced 
to nine by a second drawing of lots. The nine elected forty, 
seven votes being a necessary minimum. The forty were 
reduced by lot to twelve, who elected twenty-five, each 
receiving at least nine votes. The twenty-five were reduced 
by lot to nine, who elected forty-five, who must each receive 
seven votes. The forty-five were reduced to eleven, who 
chose forty-one, each to receive nine votes. The forty-one 
then took an oath and proceeded to vote for the vacant 
office. The voting was repeated until some candidate had 
received at least twenty-five votes, and he became doge. 
The form of demanding popular approval of the election did 
not become obsolete until the election of Francesco Foscari 
in 1423. 

With the doge were associated six ducal councillors, who 
were necessarily consulted on every subject and without 
whom the doge could do nothing. In fact, the ducal 
functions were really discharged, not by the doge, but by a 
committee of seven of whom the doge was one. The Colkgio 
or cabinet of ministers (savii), conducted the routine work of 
administration, and prepared all business for the other public 
bodies. The business of every department passed through 
the Colkgio, in which the six savii grandi presided in weekly 

38 European History \ 1273- 1494 

terms. The Quarantia, or Forty, was originally created in 
the twelfth century to act as a permanent senate, but it was 
gradually limited to judicial functions, and became the great 
law-court of Venice. The functions of the senate fell to the 
Pregadi, a body of a hundred and sixty members, whose 
name was derived from the originally voluntary consultation 
of prominent citizens by the doge. The Pregadi became a 
permanent part of the constitution in 1229. Their chief 
business was the first consideration of all legislative proposals, 
the appointment of ambassadors, and the general supervision 
of foreign affairs. 

At the basis of the constitution was the Maggior Consig/io, 
which had gradually taken the place of the primary assembly 
The Great of all citizens. The council was originally elec- 
Councii. tj VCj an d its r i se was a natural result of the growth 

of Venetian population. But in 1297 a law was carried which 
finally changed the government of Venice from a democracy 
to a close oligarchy. A list was drawn up of all who had 
sat in the Great Council for the last four years, and their 
names were put up to ballot in the Quarantia. All who 
received twelve votes were to be members of the council. 
Three electors were to be appointed every year to make a 
list of any other candidates, and their names, if approved by 
the doge and his councillors, were to be balloted by the 
Quarantia. For a few years the addition of names was 
frequent, though few candidates were successful unless their 
ancestors had at some time or other had a seat in the council. 
But in 13 15 the names of all eligible candidates were drawn 
up once for all and placed in a book, and in 13 19 the three 
annual electors were abolished. Henceforth membership of 
the Great Council became a hereditary privilege, and the 
admission of a member's son as soon as he had reached the 
age of twenty-five was regarded as a matter of course. The 
serrata del Maggior Consig/io, or closing of the Great Council, 
divided the Venetian population into two sharply defined 
classes : the nobles, who had the privilege of membership, 

Italy and the Papacy, 1 273- 1 3 1 3 39 

and the lower classes, who were for ever excluded from any 
voice in the government. 

Although the abolition of popular election in 1297 was a 
change to which things had long been tending, it could 
hardly take place without exciting considerable discontent. 
Several conspiracies were formed against the new oligarchy, 
and after the failure of a formidable plot under Bajamonte 
Tiepolo in 13 10, it was determined to devise council of 
some new machinery for the detection and Ten » x 3 10 - 
repression of future revolts. Ten members were chosen by 
the Great Council to act as a sort of committee of public 
safety. So useful did they prove that they were renewed 
year after year, and in 1335 they were made a permanent 
part of the constitution. The Council really consisted of 
seventeen, as the doge and his six councillors were associated 
with the Ten. The latter were elected yearly, and could not 
hold office again till a year had elapsed. The proper 
function of the Ten was to act as a court of exceptional 
jurisdiction, somewhat like the Star Chamber in England. 
In this capacity they served as the efficient bulwark of the 
Venetian aristocracy, and coerced the inferior citizens into 
passive acquiescence in the rule of their superiors. As time 
went on, the Ten became more and more powerful, and 
began to interfere in the general conduct of affairs. So 
great became the passion for secrecy in the Venetian 
government, that in the sixteenth century the Ten began 
to delegate their functions to a sub-committee, the three 
Inquisitors of State. 

For sixty years Italy had been allowed to take its own course 
without any attempt at interference on the part of its nominal 
suzerain in Germany. The news that Henry of HenryV n 
Luxemburg, elected in 1308, was preparing to in Italy, 1310. 
visit Italy and to revive the imperial power, I313 ' 
made a profound impression in the peninsula, where the 
Guelf and Ghibelline parties were as active and bellicose as 
ever. These party names had by this time ceased to express 

40 European History \ 1273- 1494 

any essential difference of principle. The imperial suzerainty 
in the north, and the papal suzerainty in the south were 
equally shadowy, and neither seemed substantial enough to 
fight for. The idea that the Guelfs were the champions of 
republican liberty as against aggressive despots, had ceased 
to have any real foundation in facts. A Delia Torre was 
just as dangerous to the liberties of Milan as a Visconti. 
Since the Popes had called in the House of Anjou, and 
especially since a Pope had fixed his residence in Avignon, 
it was impossible to contend that the Guelfs were the 
champions of Italian independence against foreign domina- 
tion. The anomalous relations of Italian parties were re- 
flected in the equally anomalous position of Henry vii. A 
German prince elected by German princes to the throne of 
the Hohenstaufen, he seemed destined to revive the 
principles of Ghibellinism and to assume the headship of a 
revived Ghibelline faction. On the other hand, Henry was 
French by education and sympathies, he owed his election 
to the clerical partisans of France acting under papal 
influence, and he was accompanied in his march by legates 
whom the Pope had authorised to confer upon him the 
imperial crown in Rome. It was no empty pretence of 
moderation, but the expression of a real policy, when Henry 
professed that he belonged to neither faction and intended 
to act as a mediator between them. And his actions corre- 
sponded with his professions. As he passed through the 
Lombard cities he insisted on the return of all political 
exiles, whichever party they belonged to. In Milan, where 
he received the iron crown of Lombardy (January 6, 131 1), 
he recalled Matteo Visconti without overthrowing the rule 
of Guido della Torre. But the Italians themselves had no 
sympathy with his impartiality. Henry vn., like most of his 
German predecessors, was in need of money, and the 
attempt to levy a contribution of 100,000 ducats provoked 
a rising in Milan. The rising was suppressed, but it resulted 
in an inevitable alliance between the Emperor and the 

Italy and the Papacy \ 1273-1313 41 

Ghibellines. Guido della Torre and his family were driven 
into exile, and an attempted rebellion in the Guelf cities was 
suppressed. Brescia alone made any lengthy resistance to 
the German army. Before leaving Lombardy, Henry 
appointed imperial vicars in the chief cities, and in Milan 
he intrusted the office to Matteo Visconti, thus finally 
establishing the dynasty which ruled Milan for a century 
and a half, and at one time seemed likely to unite the whole 
of northern Italy under its sway. 

From this time the difficulties of Henry vn. rapidlv 
increased. The force of circumstances had compelled him 
to become a Ghibelline against his will. The hopes which 
that party built upon his arrival are expressed in the De 
Monarchia of Dante. Peace could only be bestowed upon 
Italy by a strong monarchy, and such a monarchy could only 
be established by a German king with the traditions of the 
Empire at his back. But the more enthusiastic the 
Ghibellines became, the more resolute was the opposition 
of the Guelfs. Robert of Naples, the close ally of Clement v., 
did not venture to embark on open hostilities, but he was 
rendered both jealous and uneasy by Henry's progress, and 
did not hesitate to intrigue against him. Henry vn. 
succeeded in obtaining the lordship of Genoa and Pisa, the 
latter of which was always on the Ghibelline side. But 
Florence, the leading Guelf city in Tuscany, obstinately 
refused to admit the German king or his troops, and he 
was compelled to pass on one side on his journey to Rome. 
There he found the greater part of the city occupied by 
the Guelf family of Orsini, assisted by a Neapolitan force. 
A battle would have been necessary to obtain possession 
of St. Peter's, and the coronation ceremony had to take 
place in the church of St. John Lateran (June 29, 13 12). 
Henry vn. was now convinced that the reduction of Italy to 
obedience could only be accomplished by force of arms. 
King Robert had as yet avoided any declaration of war, and 
it would have been dangerous to attack Naples while the 

42 European History \ 1273- 1494 

Guelfs in the north were strong enough to cut off communica- 
tions with Germany. It was decided to strike terror into the 
Guelfs by the reduction of Florence. The German troops 
advanced to the city walls in September, 13 12, but they 
found them too strong and too well garrisoned to venture on 
an attack. Henry retreated to Pisa to await reinforcement. 
Against Robert of Naples, who was preparing to give active 
assistance to Florence, he issued the imperial ban, and 
concluded an alliance with the Aragonese king of Sicily. 
Death of Henry had commenced his march to meet the 
Henry vii., Neapolitan troops, when he suddenly died of 
1313. f ever at Buonconvento, twelve miles from Siena 

(August 24, 13 1 3). The Ghibellines believed that he had 
been poisoned by a Dominican monk in administering the 
sacrament. The schemes of Henry vii. were entirely out 
of date : the Holy Roman Empire, as Dante understood it, 
was already an anachronism : and the Emperor's death is 
only important as marking the failure of the last serious 
attempt to reduce Italy to obedience to a German king. 
The forces of disunion were strong enough to break up any 
monarchy ; it was only an added weakness that the monarchy 
was claimed by a foreigner. 



Progress of the French Monarchy — Its difficulties — Philip in. — The inherit- 
ance to Toulouse, Champagne, and Navarre — Wars with Castile and 
Aragon— Accession of Philip iv. and the importance of his reign— His 
War with England and Flanders— His relations with the Papacy— The 
suppression of the Templars — His policy of annexation — His domestic 
government — The King's Court and its departments : the conseil du rot, 
the chambre des comptes, and the Parlement of Paris— The States-General 
—Financial maladministration— Death of Philip iv.— Louis X.— His 
death and the succession question — The Salic Law— The short reigns of 
Philip v. and Charles iv. 

The history of the modern kingdom of France begins with 
the break-up of the great Karoling Empire in the treaty of 
Verdun (843). Western Francia, split off from the other 
dominions of Charles the Great, continued for a century to 
be ruled by his degenerate descendants. But the decentral- 
ising movement did not stop with the division of the Frankish 
Empire into three fairly well-defined units. The dukes and 
counts, who had been provincial governors under Charles the 
Great, took advantage of the growing weakness of the central 
power to make their position hereditary and practically inde- 
pendent. Superficial unity was only maintained by the 
necessity of making head against the attacks of the Northmen. 
The successful resistance of Paris to these invaders gave to 
the dukes of Paris, the lords of the Isle de France, the royal 
title which the Karolings at Laon were too feeble to defend. 
But the early kings of the House of Capet were as powerless 
as their predecessors. They themselves belonged to the 
feudal nobles, they owed the crown to the support of their 


44 European History, 1273- 1494 

fellows, they were avowedly only pritni inter pares. Hugh 
Capet himself acknowledged this when he undertook to do 
nothing of importance without consulting the tenants-in-chief. 
During the eleventh century France was little more than 
a geographical expression : its political unity was a mere 
shadow: its ecclesiastical unity was independent of the 
crown. But in the twelfth century two movements began 
Progress of wrucn were destined to exert the most decisive 
the French influence on the fortunes of France : the rise of 
monarc y. ^ communes, and the growth of the royal power. 
There was no formal alliance between the crown and the 
bourgeoisie, but they had obvious common interests in oppo- 
sition to the feudal nobles, and they rendered the most vital 
assistance to each other. Feudalism, attacked both from 
above and from below, seemed destined to perish. The three 
kings who dealt the most fatal blows to aristocratic isolation 
were Philip Augustus (1 180-1223), Louis ix. (1226-1270), and 
Philip iv. (1285-1314). The third estate rendered its greatest 
service to the monarchy by giving birth to the class of lawyers. 
To their superior training and their persistent advocacy of the 
principles of Roman Law was due the gradual break-down of 
feudal jurisdiction. The cour du roy, at first either the court 
of the royal domain or the court of peers for the trial of cases 
concerning tenants-in-chief, became, as the Parliament of 
Paris, the supreme judicial court for the whole of France. 

Side by side with the advance of the central judicial power, 
another great change was going on — the extension of the royal 
domain. In the great fiefs female succession was admitted 
in default of male heirs, and this proved fatal to the perman- 
ence of many of the old families. With regard to the crown 
there was no acknowledged rule of succession, because no 
occasion for dispute arose. From the accession of Hugh 
Capet in 987, to the death of Louis x. in 1316, there was 
never wanting a son to succeed to his father. This uninter- 
rupted male succession for so many generations, almost un- 
paralleled among the reigning families of Europe, was an 

France under the Later Capets 45 

invaluable element of strength to the crown in its struggle 
with feudalism. One by one the great fiefs fell in, were con- 
quered, or were acquired by marriage with heiresses. The 
most notable successes were the acquisition of Normandy by 
Philip Augustus, and of Languedoc after the Albigensian 
crusade. By the time of Philip the Fair the only provinces 
which retained their feudal independence were the county of 
Flanders in the north, the duchy of Brittany in the west, the 
duchy of Burgundy in the east, and the duchy of Aquitaine in 
the south. The royal power-and the territorial unity of France 
had advanced pari passu, and Philip iv. found himself strong 
enough to attempt acquisitions beyond the traditional frontiers 
of France. 

So far — during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries — the 
tendency towards centralisation, in spite of temporary obstacles 
and checks, had achieved that success which usually attends 
directness and persistence of aim, and a politic, if sometimes 
unscrupulous, choice of means. But at the death of Philip iv. 
this progress was suddenly arrested, and during Difficultiesof 
the next two centuries a struggle had to be carried the monarchy 
on, differing in many respects from that which {JjShMd 
had gone before, but still involving many of the same fifteenth 
problems and ultimately terminating in a victory for centuneB - 
the same side. One essential factor in this struggle was the 
tenure of the duchy of Aquitaine by a foreign prince — the king 
of England. Obvious interest impelled English kings, like 
Edward in. and Henry v., to ally themselves with all the 
forces of disunion in France, and their efforts were aided and 
stimulated by the chance which gave them a colourable claim 
to the French crown. But the difficulties of the French kings 
of the House of Valois were not due merely to English inter- 
vention. There were two fatal flaws in their own policy and 
that of their predecessors. (1) Wrr'le taking every advantage 
of the movement of the lower classes, the kings had done little 
or nothing to satisfy their legitimate aspirations. They gave 
the lawyers a distinguished position in the service of the 

46 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

crown, and that was all. Before long, the third estate was 
sure to weary of an alliance in which all the substantial 
advantages were on one side ; and if the commons were able 
or willing to form a coalition with the nobles against the 
crown, they might impose checks upon the royal power similar 
to those which were enforced by the English parliament. 
That this danger was a real one will be seen when we come 
to consider the attitude adopted by the States-General at the 
time of the battle of Poitiers. 1 (2) While destroying the 
old feudal nobility, the French kings had created a new one. 
As the great fiefs fell in, many of them were granted out again 
as appanages to members of the royal family. Doubtless it 
was considered that blood-relationship would be sufficient to 
unite their interests with those of the monarchy. But this 
proved a complete miscalculation. Relationship counts for 
very little in politics as against the impulse given by selfish 
interests. Edward in. tried a similar policy in England, and 
it led to the Wars of the Roses. In France it led to the long 
contest of the Burgundians and Armagnacs, to the Praguerie 
of 1440, and to the League of the Public Weal of 1465. The 
feodalite apanagee, as French writers call these nobles of royal 
birth in contradistinction to the old feodalite territorial^ did 
not long delay to assume the same attitude as their predeces- 
sors, and became the opponents of the monarchy which had 
created them. Their overthrow tasked the devotion of the 
capable servants of Charles vil, and gave full employment to 
the mingled craft and resolution of Louis xi. 

The futile expedition to Tunis, the expiring effort of that 
crusading impulse which had urged mediaeval Europe to 
Philip in., heroic deeds, cost France the life of the noblest 
1270-1285. f her long line of kings. Louis ix. was almost 
the only French ruler who combined the highest moral virtues 
with eminent political capacity. His son and successor, 
Philip in., could claim neither of his father's characteristics. 
He was illiterate, and the rashness which earned him the 
1 See below, chap, iv., pp. 81-88. 

France under the Later Capets 47 

name of le Hardi was not redeemed by any clear insight or 
any signs of ability. He was only in name the head of the 
House of Capet : the real master of French policy was his 
uncle, Charles of Anjou. Paris looked for guidance to 
Naples, rather than Naples to Paris. That the French 
monarchy continued to advance, in spite of the incapacity of 
the king, is a signal proof of its inherent strength and of the 
ability of the trained lawyers who served it. The reign of 
Philip in., obscure as it appears at first sight, was marked by 
the acquisition of three important provinces, of which two 
remained permanently subject to the crown. 

Among the numerous victims who perished on the return 
journey from Tunis were Alfonso of Poitiers (August 21, 
1 271), brother of St. Louis, and his wife Jeanne The Toulouse 
of Toulouse, the last descendant of the famous inheritance. 
House of St. Gilles. They left no children, and their vast 
inheritance, including the counties of Toulouse, Poitou, 
Auvergne, and the marquisate of Provence, 1 fell to the French 
crown. The only exceptions were the district of Agenais, 
which was claimed by the English king, and the Venaissin, 
near Avignon, which was ceded to the Papacy in accordance 
with the treaty of Meaux in 1229. Thus France completed 
the absorption of Languedoc, which had been begun in the 
crusade against the Albigenses. It is true that Philip under- 
took to rule his new territories as count, and not as king, and 
that he created a special parliament and law-court at Toulouse, 
but these concessions to local independence were only 
temporary and illusory. 

In 1274 occurred another important death, that of Henry, 
King of Navarre and Count of Champagne and Brie, leaving 

1 Since 1125 Prorence had been divided into two parts : (1) the county, 
south of the Durance, which was given to the family of Berenger, and 
passed, with the hand of their heiress Beatrice, to Charles I. of Anjou and 
Naples ; (2) the marquisate, between the Durance, the Isere, the Alps, 
and the Rhone, which was held by the counts of Toulouse, and was 
brought by Jeanne to her husband, Alfonso of Poitiers. 

48 European History, 1 273-1494 

an only daughter, Jeanne, aged three years. The widow, 
Blanche of Artois, carried the infant heiress to France and 
Champagne threw herself on the protection of the king. Philip 
and Navarre. at once occupied Champagne and Brie, which 
were henceforth united to the crown. At the same time he 
procured a dispensation from Pope Gregory x. for the future 
marriage of Jeanne to his own second son Philip, who soon 
afterwards became heir to the throne by the death of his 
elder brother. The people of Navarre revolted against this 
high-handed settlement of their fate by a foreign prince, but 
their resistance was crushed by a French army, and Philip 
assumed the government of the kingdom as guardian for his 
future daughter-in-law. 

These territorial gains were the only notable successes of 
Philip iii.'s reign, and his remaining years were mainly occu- 
Wars with P^ w i tn tw0 futile wars in Spain. Alfonso x., 
Castile and formerly the claimant of the throne of the Caesars, 
Aragon. wag s ^\ reigning in Castile, but the actual con- 
duct of affairs fell in his old age to his sons, Ferdinand de la 
Cerda and Sancho. The elder, who had married Philip iii.'s 
sister Blanche, died in 1275, leaving two sons. The Castilian 
Cortes, in regulating the succession, passed over these children, 
and secured the crown on Alfonso's death to Sancho, who 
had earned the name of 'the Brave' for his exploits against 
the Moors. Philip was indignant at the exclusion of his 
nephews, and took up arms to support their claims. But his 
invasion of Castile was so reckless and ill-planned as to gain 
him the name of le Hardi, and he was unable to force a 
passage through the mountains. His intervention was natur- 
ally fruitless, and Sancho succeeded to Castile on his father's 

The second war was more prolonged. The Sicilian Vespers 
in 1282 (v. p. 25), which resulted in the transfer of Sicily to 
Peter in. of Aragon, made a profound impression in France, 
and many nobles hurried to offer their services to Charles of 
Anjou. The Pope excommunicated Peter in., and offered 

France under the Later Capets 49 

the crown of Aragon to Philip iii.'s second surviving son, 
Charles of Valois, on condition that it should never be united 
to France. The offer was accepted in 1284, and in the next 
year Philip himself headed a great expedition against Aragon, 
which was dignified by the name of a crusade. The capture of 
the fortresses of Elna and Girona, both after an obstinate resist- 
ance, were the only successes of the campaign. Roger di 
Loria with his Catalan sailors destroyed the French fleet, and 
cut off the possibility of receiving supplies by sea. At the 
same time disease broke out in the French army. Philip 
found it necessary to retreat, and died at Perpi- 
gnan on October 5, 1285. He left three sons: Philip in., 
Philip, who in 1284 had married Jeanne, heiress I28s 
of Navarre; Charles, Count of Valois and Alencon, and 
titular King of Aragon j and Louis, Count of Evreux, whose 
descendants afterwards ruled in Navarre. 

Philip iv. was seventeen years old when he succeeded his 
father, and he died at the age of forty-seven. In the course 
of these thirty years he set a mark upon French phin p iv., 
life and government which has never been com- "85-1314. 
pletely effaced, not even by the floods of successive revolu- 
tions. Yet our knowledge of his reign, and especially of his 
person and character, is singularly scanty. That he was 
good-looking we know from his being called le Bel, but we 
are not informed whether he was tall or short. His character 
we have to infer from his actions, and we are forced to con- 
clude that it was far less attractive than his face. This dearth 
of contemporary records is the more notable when it is con- 
trasted with the striking picture which we possess of his 
grandfather, and with the wealth of narrative on the subject 
of the fourteenth century wars. Philip was not the man to 
be the hero of a Joinville or a Froissart, and no Philippe de 
Commines had yet arisen. There is little that is heroic or 
picturesque about his reign. The most striking scene, the 
humiliation of Boniface vin., is repulsive in itself and is dis- 
creditable to Philip's memory. It may even be said that 

50 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

there was little result to show for his restless activity. The 
two enterprises which he had most at heart — the annexation 
of Aquitaine and Flanders — ended in failure. His only 
territorial acquisition of importance was Lyons. The suppres 
sion of the Templars was not an achievement to be proud of. 
A notable victory was gained over the Papacy, but it was 
gained by discreditable methods ; and, after all, the residence 
at Avignon brought no permanent advantages to France. 
Philip's great work lay in the comparatively obscure details of 
domestic government, in the improvement and completion of 
administrative machinery, and in the removal of all obstacles 
in the way of an efficient despotism. These are achievements 
which escape the notice of historians who are attracted by the 
heroes of chivalry, but they produce far more definite and 
deep-seated results than the most brilliant exploits on the 
battlefield. It must be admitted that Philip iv. was cruel 
and cold-blooded; that his regard for the letter of the law 
was a mere disguise for unscrupulousness ; that this un- 
scrupulousness was the more repulsive for the hypocrisy which 
could always find pretexts to justify it; it may even be 
admitted that his failures in external politics outweighed his 
successes, — yet he must be always memorable as the real 
founder of that administrative centralisation which has ever 
since been the dominant characteristic of the government 
of France, and has been a prominent cause of the subse- 
quent greatness, if also of the subsequent disasters, of that 

If this estimate of the reign be correct, it is obvious that 
we need not linger long over Philip's foreign relations, and 
that our attention will be better devoted to his domestic 
measures. The war with Aragon, which he inherited, never 
interested him, as the only possible gainers by it were his 
brother and his cousin. After lasting for nearly twenty years, 
it ended in the final loss of Sicily by the House of Anjou, and 
the abandonment by Charles of Valois of his claims on Aragon 
on condition that his cousin, Charles 11. of Naples, should 

France under the Later Capets 5 1 

give up to him his appanages of Anjou and Maine. Before 
this settlement had been arrived at, Philip had turned his 
attention to a far more exciting enterprise — the attempt to 
wrest Guienne and Gascony from Edward 1. of wars with 
England. These provinces had been united to the England. 
English crown since the marriage of Henry II. with Eleanor 
of Aquitaine, and on the whole they were fairly satisfied 
to remain subject to their distant ruler, whose island king- 
dom gave them a convenient market for the produce of their 
vineyards. But Edward 1. had his hands full with the 
suppression of discontent in his recent conquests in Wales, 
and with enforcing his lately acknowledged suzerainty over 
Scotland. This gave Philip iv. an opportunity which he 
was not slow to seize. Taking advantage of a naval quarrel 
between some Norman sailors and the mariners of the 
Cinque Ports, and of the refusal of the Gascons to acknow- 
ledge the judicial authority of the French courts, Philip sum- 
moned Edward 1. to appear before him to answer for the breach 
of his obligations as a vassal (November, 1293). Edward 
was aware that a contumacious attitude towards his suzerain 
would set a dangerous example to John Balliol in Scotland, 
and did all in his power to avoid a rupture. Unable to go to 
France in person he sent as a proxy his brother Edmund, 
who had married Philip's mother-in-law, Blanche of Artois. 
On this docile envoy Philip played what can only be described 
as 'the confidence trick.' He assured him of his perfect 
friendliness to England, offered the hand of his sister 
Margaret to Edward, who was now a widower, and in return 
he demanded that, as a mere sign of trust and submission, 
Gascony should be ceded to him for a period of forty days. 
Edmund consented ; but on the expiration of the time, 
Philip declared the English king to be contumacious for not 
having appeared in person, and his troops remained in 
occupation of the Gascon fortresses. After this there was no 
alternative but war. Edward was at an immense disadvan- 
tage. He had a war with Scotland and Wales on his hands j 

52 European History, 1273- 1494 

his subjects, especially the clergy, were discontented at his 
exactions, and the enemy was already in possession of a large 
part of his territories. His only ally of importance, Adolf of 
Nassau, was too impotent in Germany to effect any diversion. 
On the other hand, Philip offered aid to John Balliol, and 
thus laid the foundation of that permanent alliance between 
France and Scotland which lasted till the reign of Mary Stuart. 
The actual hostilities were unimportant, but the balance 
of success was decidedly against the English. It was at 
this time that Boniface viii.'s attempt to interfere led to 
his first quarrel with Philip iv., and to the issue of the 
bull Clericis laicos (v. p. 29). In 1297 the war assumed a 
new phase. Edward 1. had succeeded in deposing John 
Balliol and in conquering Scotland, so that he was now free 
to take part in the continental war. At the same time he 
found an ally in Count Guy of Flanders, who had hitherto 
been kept passive by Philip's detention of his daughter as a 
hostage. But Edward was again hampered by quarrels with 
the clergy and the barons, and the latter refused to serve in 
Gascony if the king persisted in going in person to Flanders. 
The result was that Guienne and Gascony were left defence- 
less, while Edward and his Flemish ally were unable to make 
head against the French. This check and the outbreak of a 
Scottish rebellion under Wallace forced Edward to make 
overtures for peace, and Philip determined to postpone the 
annexation of Aquitaine until he had completed the reduction 
of Flanders. Boniface vm. had been compelled by difficulties 
in Italy to draw closer to the French king, and he had 
published a modified interpretation of his bull against clerical 
contributions to secular rulers. He was now allowed to act 
as mediator, though Philip protested that he accepted his 
mediation as a private person and not as Pope. It was 
arranged that both parties should retain their possessions 
as they stood until the conclusion of a final settlement. 
As a security for future peace, Edward I. was to marry 
Philip's sister, Margaret, and the young Edward of Wales 

France under the Later Capets 53 

was betrothed to Philip's daughter, Isabella. Both kings 
abandoned their allies (June 30, 1298). 

While Edward 1. returned to defeat Wallace at the battle 
of Falkirk, Flanders was left at Philip's mercy. The Flemish 
citizens had no love for their count, and would render him 
no assistance. In this hopeless position, Guy warin 
was induced by the treacherous promises of Flander »- 
Charles of Valois to trust to the clemency of his suzerain. 
He was at once thrown into prison, and his fief was declared 
forfeited to the crown (1300). On his first visit to his new 
province, Philip's cupidity was excited by the wealth which 
he found there. His wife, Jeanne of Navarre, exclaimed, 
when she saw the jewellery of the ladies of Bruges : \ I 
thought I was the only queen in France, but I find that here 
there are six hundred.' The attempt to gratify the greed thus 
aroused was certain to lead to discontent. The Flemings 
were as fond of their wealth as they were jealous of their inde- 
pendence. They soon discovered that it was better to be 
oppressed by their count than to be both oppressed and pillaged 
by their French governor, Jacques de Chatillon. The signal 
for a general rebellion was given in Bruges, as twenty 
years before in Palermo, by a massacre of the French. 
Philip despatched a large feudal army under Robert of 
Artois to crush the insurgents. The French nobles reckoned 
on an easy victory over un warlike and ill-armed citizens, 
but they were undone by their own confidence and reckless- 
ness, and were utterly routed in the famous battle of Courtrai 
(July n, 1302). This was the first of a great series of 
battles which taught Europe that an infantry force, if properly 
led and handled, could more than hold their own against 
mounted and heavily accoutred men-at-arms. It was some 
time before the lesson was thoroughly learned ; but when it 
was mastered, the military system of the Middle Ages collapsed, 
and with it perished the social organisation which rested on 
the invincibility of the knightly force. Philip iv. advanced 
in person to recover the lost honour and power of France, 

54 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

but the approach of winter compelled him to retire without 
having done anything towards the suppression of the re- 
bellion. The great disaster of 1302, the first which Philip 
had yet experienced, came at the crisis of his quarrel with 
the Papacy, and forced him to moderate his ambition. In 
1303 he concluded a final peace with Edward 1. and resigned 
his acquisitions in Aquitaine. In 1304, Boniface vm. being 
dead, a great effort was made for the reduction of Flanders. 
At Mons-en-Puelle (August 18), by carefully avoiding the 
ruinous mistakes at Courtrai, Philip succeeded in defeating 
the Flemings ; but his victory was hardly won, and was by no 
means so decisive as that ot his opponents had been. 
Within three weeks the rebels had re-formed their army and 
were as formidable and undaunted as ever. Philip found 
himself compelled to recognise that he had undertaken a 
task beyond his strength, and he hastened to escape from it 
by concluding a treaty (June, 1305). Robert of Bdthune, 
the eldest son of Count Guy, who had died in prison in 1303, 
was invested with the fiefs of Flanders, Nevers, and Rethel ; 
the Flemings undertook to pay 200,000 livres to the French 
king, and to hand over as security for the payment Douai, Lille, 
and other towns on the southern frontier. It was long since 
a French king had suffered such a humiliating check. In 
1300 Philip seemed to have secured the whole of Flanders 
and the greater part of Aquitaine. Four years later he had 
lost both provinces. 

Philip's relations with the Papacy have been already alluded 
to (v. p. 29). In his quarrel with Boniface vm. he had 
substantial justice on his side, and the national develop- 
ment of France necessitated an energetic resistance to the 
exorbitant pretensions of the mediaeval Papacy. But these 
considerations do not justify the brutality of the French 
soldiery at Anagni, nor the vindictiveness with which Philip 
persisted in blackening the character of Boniface after the 
latter's death. Equally inexcusable was his treatment of the 
ill-fated Benedict xi., though there is no reasonable ground 

France under the Later Capets 55 

for believing the charge that Philip's agents poisoned the Pope 
in consequence of his excommunication of Boniface's assail- 
ants. In Clement v. the king was face to face with a Pope 
upon whose subservience he had reasonable claims, and who 
was fully his match in diplomatic subtlety and in the want of 
scruples. The hold which Philip obtained upon suppression 
the Papacy at this time enabled him to effect the of the 
blackest action of his reign, the destruction of Tcm P lars - 
the Templars. The crusades in the East had come to an 
end with the fall of Acre in 1291, and the Orders which had 
been formed for the defence or conquest of Palestine must 
inevitably fall victims to the jealousy which their wealth and 
independence excited in Europe, or they must undertake 
some new task which would justify their existence and give 
them a renewed hold on the public opinion of Europe. The 
Knights of St. John and of the German Order of St. Mary 
chose the latter course, and secured a prolongation of their 
corporate existence — the one in Prussia, and the other in the 
island of Rhodes. The Templars, who had been the most 
prominent in the wars of Palestine, were the least prepared 
to find a new occupation, and their inaction impaled them on 
the other horn of the dilemma. It is needless to go through 
the long catalogue of charges, some horrible and some 
absurd, which were brought by the king's agents against the 
Order. It was inevitable that a celibate society of warriors 
should give occasion for the belief that the vow of chastity 
was not always observed. It is credible that in their inter- 
course with the Saracens many of the knights may have been 
led into unbelief, or even to adopt a contemptuous and 
irreverent attitude towards Christianity. But it is not 
credible that the whole Order was guilty of the obscenity, 
blasphemy, and irreligion that were charged against its 
members. Confessions extorted under horrible tortures and 
recanted when health and sanity were restored, do not 
constitute evidence from which any reasonable conclusions 
can be drawn. But Philip iv. was deaf to all considerations 

56 European History \ 1273- 1494 

of justice or of clemency, and his iron will extorted a con- 
demnation from judicial tribunals and from the Pope. In 
13 10, after the trial had lasted for two years, fifty-four knights 
were burned in Paris, and many other executions followed. 
In 131 2 the Order was formally suppressed, and its posses- 
sions transferred to the Knights of St. John. This last 
provision was only imperfectly fulfilled, and much of the 
Templars' hoarded wealth never passed from the hands of the 
king. In 13 14 the last grand master, Jacques de Molai, 
after a solemn retractation of all extorted confessions, and a 
denial of the truth of all charges against the Order, perished 
at the stake on an island in the Seine. 

Philip's last success was an encroachment on those border 
territories between France and Germany which constituted 
Encroach- ^ e obsolete kingdom of Aries. The first step 
mentsin towards their annexation to France had been 
Arles ' taken when Philip hi. inherited the marquisate 

of Provence (see above, p. 47). In 1291 Philip iv. had 
arranged a marriage between his second son, Philip, and 
Jeanne, daughter and heiress of Otto iv., Count of Burgundy. 
This marriage brought Franche-Comte' under French in- 
fluence, but did not result in the final annexation of the 
province, which was not accomplished till the treaty of 
Nimeguenin 1678. For a longtime the city of Lyons and 
the adjacent territory had been objects of French covetous- 
ness, and constant quarrels between the archbishop and the 
citizens offered frequent pretexts for intervention. At last, in 
13 1 2, taking advantage of the Emperor Henry vn.'s absence 
in Italy, Philip iv. ventured to take the final step, and Lyons 
was incorporated with France. 

We must now turn to Philip iv.'s domestic govern- 
ment, which constitutes his sole claim to a place among the 
Domestic great kings of history. His aims were those 
Government. f his predecessors — those, in fact, of all kings in 
the later Middle Ages who wished to extend their power. He 
had to destroy feudalism as a basis of government, or, in the 

France under the Later Capets 57 

words of a great historian, to 'eliminate the doctrine of 
tenure from political life.' The essential vice of the feudal 
system was that every man was directly bound only to the 
immediate lord of whom he held his land ; the connection 
with that lord's suzerain was purely indirect. Hence came 
an inevitable tendency to disruption ; the tie between vassal 
and lord was stronger than the indirect tie between the sub- 
tenant and the king; if a great noble rebelled he could 
compel his tenants to follow him even against his suzerain. 
For this system, which had many merits, but was inconsistent 
with either national unity or a strong government, Philip 
desired to substitute an organisation in which all Frenchmen, 
whether tenants-in-chief or sub-tenants, should stand in equal 
subjection to the law and to the king as the source and 
guardian of the law. 

To accomplish this end, an efficient administrative 
machinery was necessary, and of this the foundations had 
been laid by Philip's predecessors. The country was divided 
into bailliages in the north and senbchaussccs in the south. 
Philip iv. regulated and extended the functions of the bailiffs 
and seneschals, and employed them not only to carry out 
his edicts in the provinces, but also to supply him with that 
accurate local information without which centralisation is 
useless and incompetent. Besides these local officials, he 
had the cour du roi which attended his person. TheKing-i 
This body, the earliest institution of Capetian Court - 
France, was originally merely the court of the king's domain, 
and consisted of the household officers and the immediate 
domain tenants. From time to time, however, the king must 
have had to decide questions concerning the great tenants- 
in-chief, and by the essential principle of feudalism such 
questions must be referred to their equals. Hence arose the 
court of peers, the creation of which is assigned by tradition 
to Philip Augustus when he summoned John of England to 
answer for the murder of Arthur of Brittany. Whether this 
court ever had a separate existence from the domain court is 

58 European History \ 1273- 1494 

difficult to decide, but if it had, it soon lost it. In the reign 
of Louis ix. the domain court was transformed, when neces- 
sary, into a court of peers by the addition to it of some of the 
great vassals. At the same time, the court was made more 
efficient by the introduction of trained lawyers. Under 
Philip iv. these lawyers became the real managers of the 
work of justice and administration ; and the nobles, though 
retaining the right of attendance, preferred as a rule to absent 
themselves from business in which their want of legal training 
placed them at a conspicuous disadvantage. The work of 
the court included all departments of government : the 
advising of the king, the management of finance, and the 
administration of justice. And the judicial work was 
enormously increased, partly by the compulsion of the nobles 
to allow appeals from their local courts to that of the suzerain, 
and partly by the reservation of an increasing number of cas 
royaux — i.e. cases which had to be brought in the first instance 
before the king. It was impossible for one body of men to 
discharge such a vast mass of business, and the court was 
gradually split up into three great departments, which con- 
tinued, with modifications in detail, to conduct the routine 
administration of France till the Revolution. 

(1) The first of these divisions was the conseil du roi, which 
corresponds roughly to the Privy Council in England. It 
consisted of the great officers of the household with fifteen 
councillors of state and two or more secretaries. Its chief 
business was to advise the king in all affairs of government. 
Ordinary jurisdiction was delegated to the Parliament, but 
the council continued to exercise judicial power. Appeals 
could in the last instance be made to the king in council, and 
he could evoke cases to it from other courts. 

(2) The chambre des comptes was the financial division of 
the royal court, and resembles the English Exchequer. It 
received and audited the accounts of the bailiffs and sene- 
schals ; it had jurisdiction in all financial suits, and it 
registered all edicts and deeds which concerned the domain. 

France under the Later Capets 59 

(3) The most famous of the three bodies was the great 
law-court of France, the Parliament of Paris. Its functions 
correspond to those of the courts of King's Bench and 
Common Pleas in England, but its peculiar history arises 
from the maintenance of a corporate unity and authority 
which the English judges never possessed. Philip iv. not 
only gave to the Parliament a separate existence, he also 
fixed its sessions in Paris, and organised its three earliest 
sub-divisions. The chambre des requites decided the lesser 
cases of first instance brought directly before the Parlia- 
ment. The chambre des enquetes received and prepared 
for further consideration all appeals from lower courts. The 
grande chambre was the largest and most important of the 
sub-divisions, and is often called the Parliament by itself. In 
it the peers retained the right of sitting down to the Revolu- 
tion, but they only appeared on formal occasions. The 
grande chambre decided all important appeals, and cases of 
first instance concerning the peers, the royal officers, and the 
members of the sovereign courts. At first the Parliament 
only met twice a year, at Easter and All Saints. But the two 
sessions proved insufficient to discharge the growing business 
of the court, and, later in the century, it was made a per- 
manent court, and its members were appointed for life or 
during the royal pleasure. In addition to its judicial work, 
the Parliament had to register all royal edicts, treaties of 
peace, and other formal documents. This was originally a 
duty rather than a right; and it was not till much later 
that the Parliament based upon this practice a claim to 
remonstrate against, or even to veto, the edicts of the king. 

The organisation of this administrative machinery is the 
greatest achievement of Philip iv.'s domestic government. 
But his reign is also noteworthy for the origin The states- 
of the States-General, which at one time General - 
promised to become the basis of a constitutional system 
of government such as our Parliament established in 
England, but was ultimately crushed into insignificance by 

60 European History, 1 273-1494 

the crown which had created it as a mere instrument to 
serve its own ends. The first meeting was held in 1302, 
when Philip wished to parade the unanimity of his subjects 
in opposing the pretensions of Boniface vm. They were 
summoned again in 1308 to condemn the Templars, and in 
13 14 to support the king in a renewed war with Flanders. 
Philip may have found a model for these assemblies either 
in the provincial estates of Languedoc and Brittany, or in 
the Cortes of Castile and Aragon, but it is more than pro- 
bable that he was inspired by the example of his great 
contemporary, Edward 1. of England, who in 1295 had 
summoned the famous ■ model parliament,' and had himself 
in 1 301 obtained a protest against the papal claims from a 
parliament at Lincoln. 

The States-General under Philip iv. are especially re- 
markable for their numbers. All tenants-in-chief, whether 
clerical or lay, were invited to attend in person, and those 
who were prevented by any unavoidable cause might send 
proxies. The cathedral chapters and monasteries sent 
representatives ; and so did all the towns of any size in the 
kingdom. There was no attempt to determine the condition 
which entitled a man either to vote or to be elected. The 
only class which was unrepresented was the peasantry. 
When the States met, they were divided into three estates : 
clergy, nobles, and citizens. The meeting only lasted a day, 
and there was no general discussion. The royal spokesman 
explained the object for which they were summoned, and 
then each estate separately drew up a document in accord- 
ance with the wishes of the king. 

It is obvious that the summons of the States-General was 
not in any way forced upon the king by external pressure, but 
was a mere expedient to strengthen his hands. The assembly 
never got rid of this taint on their origin. If a French king 
thought his end could be best attained by summoning the 
States-General, he summoned them : but if, on the contrary, 
he thought it advisable to treat separately with the various 

France under the Later Capets 6 1 

provinces, he did so. Later in the century an attempt was 
made to secure regular assemblies with definite authority, 
but the attempt was a failure, and parliamentary government 
was never established in France until the nineteenth century. 
The whole of Philip's rule is marked by the steady 
encroachments upon feudal independence and privilege of 
an unscrupulous but efficient despotism. He claimed for 
the crown the right of creating peers, which he exercised in 
favour of Charles II. of Naples and of Robert of Artois. He 
raised to the rank of nobles men who had no qualification 
either by descent or by tenure, and was thus enabled to 
reward those ministers who borrowed from Roman Law the 
phrase, quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem, and coined 
from it a French legal adage, which the monarchy might have 
taken for its motto : que veut le roi, si veut la loi. But there 
was one glaring defect in Philip iv.'s government, which he 
also bequeathed to his successors. His financial 
administration was as incompetent as it was maiadmini- 
tyrannical and oppressive. He strained to the stratlon - 
utmost the normal sources of revenue, the income from the 
domain and the feudal incidents. When these were 
exhausted, he imposed gabelles or taxes on the sale of 
commodities. But these taxes he was foolish enough to 
farm out to his creditors in order to obtain large sums of 
ready money. Such an expedient, especially in early times, 
always results in loss to the state and oppression to the tax- 
payer. More ruinous, because more dishonest, was the 
constant debasement of the coinage, which Philip carried 
to such lengths that contemporaries called him the 'false 
coiner.' Thus the founder of the French monarchy was 
also responsible for the defect which ultimately ruined his 
creation. It is an extraordinary thing that France, one of 
the richest countries in Europe, and in some ways one of the 
most efficiently governed, never had a sound financial system 
under the old monarchy. Philip's successors imitated the 
defects as well as the merits of his rule. To his devices of 

62 European History \ 1273- 1494 

farming the taxes and of debasing the currency they added 
the disastrous practice of selling offices, and of increasing 
their value by granting their holders exemption from taxation. 
Many Frenchmen saw and deplored the evil results of this 
system, but no one was strong enough to apply a drastic 
remedy. The deficit which resulted was the immediate 
occasion, though not the cause, of the great revolution. It 
may be fanciful, but it is not preposterous, to contend that, 
if Philip iv. had been a capable and honest financier, 
the Bourbons might still be seated on the throne of 

Such a harsh government as that of Philip iv. could 
not possibly be popular. His direct attack upon their 
Death of interests exasperated the noblesse, and his 
Philip iv. financial extortions alienated the bourgeoisie. 
In 1314 a new war broke out with Flanders, and Philip 
attempted to defray its expense by a heavy tax upon all 
commodities, to be levied on their sale, from both seller 
and purchaser. This caused an explosion, and for the 
first and only time nobles and third estate were leagued 
together against the king. Such an alliance threatened to 
ruin the monarchy, and Philip was forced to yield. He 
abolished the tax, and promised to redress the grievances 
of his subjects as regards the coinage. Soon after this 
humiliation he died (November 29, 13 14). 

During the next fourteen years Philip's three sons ruled 
in rapid succession, and their reigns are chiefly notable for 
the establishment of the all-important rule of succession 
which excluded females from the succession to the French 
Louis x„ throne. The eldest, Louis x., was only twenty- 
1314-16. four years old at his father's death, and took no 

interest in the work of government. The conduct of affairs 
was allowed to fall into the hands of his uncle, Charles of 
Valois, who had always sympathised with the feudal opposi- 
tion to Philip iv. The triumph of the reactionary party was 
seen in the trial and execution of Enguerrand de Marigny, 

France under the Later Capets 63 

one of the chief advisers of the late king. But the nobles, 
freed for the moment from royal domination, were short- 
sighted enough to throw over their recent alliance with the 
bourgeoisie, and thus lost an excellent chance of imposing 
permanent restrictions upon the power of the crown. The 
concessions which they obtained were solely in the interests 
of their own class, and even they were not national conces- 
sions but were embodied in a series of provincial charters. 
The absence of national unity, to which these events 
testified, was a cause of the ultimate victory of the monarchy, 
which had never again to face such a hostile union of classes 
as had been formed for the moment in 1314. 

Apart from this momentary victory of the feudal nobles, 
the reign of Louis x. is absolutely uneventful. He got rid of 
his first wife, Margaret of Burgundy, in order that he might 
marry dementia, sister of Carobert of Hungary. He also 
undertook an expedition to Flanders in order to force the 
Count to observe his treaty obligations; but the campaign 
was wholly unsuccessful, and soon afterwards the young king 
died, on June 5, 13 16. His death was more Succession 
important than his life, as it gave rise to the first question in 
doubtful succession since the reign of Hugh X3x6- 
Capet. For the first time for more than three centuries there 
was no male heir to the crown, as Louis only left a daughter, 
Jeanne, the offspring of his first marriage. As the question 
of female succession had never arisen before, there was no 
rule to decide either way. But the problem in this case was 
further complicated by the fact that Clementia, Louis's second 
wife, was expecting a child to be born five months after her 
husband's death. Until this event took place nothing could 
be settled, and during the necessary interregnum the regency 
was naturally intrusted to Philip, the elder brother of the late 
king. Meanwhile the interests of Jeanne were maintained by 
her maternal uncle, Eudes iv. of Burgundy, with whom Philip 
concluded a treaty. This provided that if Clementia gave 
birth to a son he should succeed to the whole inheritance, 

64 European History, 1273- 1494 

but if the posthumous child were a daughter, then Jeanne was 
to have Navarre, Champagne, and Brie until she was of 
marriageable age, when she was to choose whether to renounce 
the crown of France or to demand a formal consideration of 
her claims. 

In November, 13 16, Louis x.'s widow gave birth to a son, 
who is reckoned in the list of French kings as John 1. The 
The so-called child was born on a Sunday, and died on the 
Salic Law. following Friday. Thus the claims of Jeanne 
were left in full force, but they were seriously prejudiced by 
the fact that during the previous five months her uncle had 
obtained a firm hold of the reins of government, which he 
was by no means prepared to resign. The Duke of Burgundy 
was bribed to abandon the cause of Jeanne by a marriage 
with Philip's daughter, and by the gift of Franche-Comte* and 
500,000 crowns as his bride's dowry. The French lawyers, 
sharing the general prejudice against female rule, which 
resulted from so long a period of male succession, hunted 
out a clause in the laws of the Salian Franks which forbade 
the inheritance by women of terra Salica. This clause they 
arbitrarily applied to the crown, and thus coined the famous 
expression, the Salic Law. But it must never be forgotten 
that the exclusion of women from the throne of France rests, 
not upon any ancient rule, but upon the precedent of Jeanne's 
exclusion in 131 6, followed and confirmed by further ex- 
clusions in 1322 and 1328. 

Once securely established on the throne, Philip v. showed 
himself a resolute and able ruler. The reaction in favour of 
Philip v., feudal independence was checked; the lawyers 
1316-22. recovered their ascendency in the royal counsels ; 

and the administrative machinery of Philip iv. was once more 
set in working order. Numerous assemblies were held, in 
which the third estate was fully represented ; and a vigorous 
attempt was made to improve trade, and to check provincial 
isolation by establishing uniformity in coinage, weights, and 
measures. But Philip did not live long enough to carry out 

France under the Later Capets 65 

designs which, if successful, might have given him a place 
among the great administrators of France. He died in 1322 
leaving only daughters, and his brother Charles iv. Charles iv., 
had little difficulty in seizing, not only the throne, *3*a-a8. 
but also Navarre, Champagne, and Brie, which ought to have 
been left in the hands of Jeanne. The reign of Charles is of 
little importance except in connection with England, where 
Edward 11. was deposed and murdered by a conspiracy 
headed by his faithless wife and Charles's sister, Isabella of 
France. To his nephew, the young Edward in., Charles 
handed over Guienne, but retained the district of Agen, to 
be the source of future disputes. With Charles iv.'s death 
(January 31, 1328) the main line of the House of Capet came 
to an end. There was still one doubt as to the rule or custom 
of succession. That women could not themselves hold the 
crown had been settled by three successive precedents within 
twelve years. But could they transmit a claim to their male 
descendants? There were in 1328 two possible claimants on 
this ground — Philip, the son of Eudes iv. of Burgundy by a 
daughter of Philip v., and Edward in. of England, whose 
mother was a sister of the three last kings. But France was 
not likely to adopt a rule of succession which might at any 
moment give the crown to a foreign prince. And so the 
crown passed to the nearest male heir, Philip of Valois. 




The accession of Philip of Valois — His relations with Navarre and England 
— Robert of Artois — Philip's action in Gascony, Scotland, and Flanders 
brings on War with England — Edward III. and Jacob van Artevelde — 
Edward III. claims the French Crown — Beginning of the Hundred Years' 
War — English Expedition into Picardy — The succession in Brittany 
followed by a war — The Murder of Artevelde — The battle of Crecy and 
siege of Calais — Annexation of Dauphine" to France — Accession of King 
John and renewal of the war with England — Battle of Poitiers — Etienne 
Marcel and the States-General of 1355 and 1357 — The Ordinance of 
March 3, 1357 — Anarchy in France — The Murder of the Marshals — 
Royalist reaction — The Jacquerie — The Murder of Marcel and the cap- 
ture of Paris — English Invasion of 1359 followed by the Treaty of 
Bretigni — The succession to Burgundy — Charles v.'s Government — 
Success of his policy in Brittany and Spain — The reconquest of the 
English Provinces — Last years of Charles V. — Du Guesclin and de 

The first result of the accession of Philip vi. was the sever- 
ance of the crowns of France and Navarre, which had been 
Accession of un i te d since the marriage of Philip the Fair (see 
Philip of p. 48). Navarre was now given up to Jeanne, 
Valois, 1328. t ^ e daughter f L ou i s x., and her husband, Philip 
of Evreux. In return Jeanne abandoned all other claims, 
either to the French crown or to the provinces of Champagne 
and Brie. By this bargain Philip secured his throne against 
one possible claimant, and confirmed the exclusion of female 
succession in France. Another rival, Edward in. of England, 
who could contend that females might transmit a claim to a 
male heir, was not at the moment very formidable. He was 
very young, he had obtained the throne through his father's 

France under the Early Valois 6j 

deposition in 1327, and for the time he was under the tutelage 
of his mother Isabella and her paramour Mortimer. So far 
from putting forward a claim to the French crown, Edward in. 
came over to Amiens in 1329, and recognised Philip vi. 
by doing homage to him for his inherited possessions in 

So confident was Philip in the strength of his position that 
he did not hesitate to provoke enemies both at home and 
abroad, and this recklessness ultimately led to a quarrel with 
England, and to the outbreak of a war which lasted more 
than a hundred years, and exercised the most decisive in- 
fluence upon the development of both nations. Robert of 
Among the nobles who had contributed most to Artois - 
bring about Philip vi.'s accession was his brother-in-law, 
Robert of Artois. He was a grandson of Count Robert of 
Artois, who had fallen in the battle of Courtrai in 1302. In 
spite of the normal preference for male succession, the grand- 
son had been excluded in favour of his aunt Matilda, whose 
daughter Jeanne bad married Philip v. Robert had made 
several efforts to vindicate his claim to Artois, but without 
success. On the accession of Philip vi., however, he was 
confident of obtaining justice, and at once commenced a suit 
for the purpose of proving that the inheritance had been un- 
lawfully withheld from him. Matilda and Jeanne came to 
Paris to defend their rights, and both of them died within a 
short interval of each other, not without strong suspicions of 
foul play. Their claims now passed to Margaret, the daughter 
of Jeanne and Philip v. Robert of Artois found himself 
accused, not only of employing poison to rid himself of his 
rivals, but also of forging documents in support of his claims, 
and of employing magic arts against the king himself. His 
supposed accomplices were tortured into some sort of con- 
fession, and Robert, finding that he had lost the royal favour 
on which he had reckoned, fled from the court. The suit 
was decided against him (1332), and he himself sentenced to 
banishment. He found a refuge in England, and in his 

68 European History, 1273- 1494 

eagerness for revenge set himself to urge Edward in. to claim 
the French throne on the ground of his mother's descent from 
Philip iv. 

Edward in. might have paid little attention to such 
obviously interested advice had not events elsewhere brought 
him into hostile relations with France. Philip vi. was sus- 
pected, with some justice, of desiring to imitate his uncle's 
policy in Gascony, and to bring that province directly under 
his rule. More serious still was his conduct in regard to 
Scotland. The treaty of Northampton in 1328, by which the 
War in independence of Scotland had been recognised, 

Scotland. had stipulated for the restoration of their lands to 
those nobles who had supported England in the war. Robert 
Bruce died in 1329 without carrying out this part of the 
treaty, and the nobles who ruled during the minority of his 
son David were not likely to give up possessions which had 
fallen into their own hands. The dispossessed nobles deter- 
mined to maintain their own cause in arms, and a successful 
battle at Dupplin Moor enabled them to place Edward 
Balliol upon the Scottish throne. Edward in. had given no 
aid to this expedition, but now that the revolution was accom- 
plished, he was willing to profit by it and to receive Edward 
Balliol's homage. But the partisans of David Bruce rallied 
from their first defeat and drove Balliol from the throne. 
Edward in. now led an army into Scotland, won the battle of 
Halidon Hill (1333), captured Berwick, and restored Balliol. 
The result was a renewal of the Scottish war, and the party of 
independence appealed for aid to France. Philip vi. did not 
hesitate to secure such a useful ally in case of future difficul- 
ties with England. French troops were despatched to Scot- 
land, and the safety of the young Scottish king was secured 
by sending him to France. From this time may be dated the 
permanent alliance between France and Scotland, which was 
at once a grievance and a source of serious embarrassment 
to English rulers. 

English and French troops were aow fighting each other as 

France under the Early Valois 69 

auxiliaries on Scottish soil, and it was obvious that the two 
countries must soon be involved in open strife. The final 
impulse was supplied by events in Flanders. In the fourteenth 
century Flanders was the most important trading 
and manufacturing country in western Europe. 
Ghent was the Manchester, and Bruges the Liverpool, of that 
day. In Bruges we are told that merchants from seventeen 
kingdoms had settled homes, while strangers journeyed thither 
from all parts of the known world. It was the great centre- 
point of mediaeval commerce, where the products of north, 
south, and east were brought together and exchanged against 
each other. Still more important to the Flemings themselves 
and to their relations with England was the manufacture of 
wool. England produced the longest and finest wool, which 
was woven into cloth and worsted on the looms of Ghent 
and Ypres. With France, on the other hand, the relations 
of the Flemings were purely political. The Count of Flanders, 
who found his subjects very difficult to govern, was the vassal 
of the French king, and his authority could hardly be main- 
tained without the aid of his suzerain. To the material 
interests of the Flemings France was almost wholly alien. 
France, as contrasted with the other states of Europe, was 
little affected by the commercial spirit of the age. While 
Edward 111. and the Black Prince, who appear in the pages of 
Froissart as mirrors of chivalry, were yet sufficiently practical 
to encourage the industrial interests of their subjects, the 
Valois kings pursued a totally different policy. They crushed 
industry by excessive and ill-judged imposts. They main- 
tained no police to give safety to the foreign merchant, and 
foreign wares were kept out of France by the insecurity of the 
roads and the heavy duties upon imports. This difference is 
paralleled by the difference in the military system of the two 
countries. The English king, supported by the growing 
wealth of his subjects, was able to leave the majority of his 
people at home, and to make war with a well-paid and 
equipped mercenary army. The King of France, after extort- 

70 European History, 1273- 1494 

ing all he could wring from the pockets of his subjects, com- 
pelled them to serve in the old feudal array, and led them to 
be butchered by opponents who were numerically inferior, 
but had been trained to war, and were not distracted from 
the work before them by the sense that they were neglecting 
their material interests at home. 

Philip vi. had been involved in a Flemish war at the very 
beginning of his reign. The citizens of West Flanders, headed 
by Bruges and Ypres, rose in revolt against their Count, Lewis, 
who appealed for aid to the French king. A feudal army 
was led to his assistance, and the citizens, weakened by the 
abstention of Ghent, were crushed at the battle of Cassel 
(1328). The Flemings had to suffer, not only for their un- 
successful rebellion, but also for their previous victory at 
Courtrai, which had now been so ruinously reversed. Their 
leaders were mercilessly hunted to death, the town charters 
were confiscated, and their fortifications razed to the ground. 
The authority of the count was restored, but he was more 
than ever the dependent vassal of the French king. In 1336, 
at the command of Philip vi., he ordered the imprisonment 
of all Englishmen in Flanders. Edward III. promptly retali- 
ated by prohibiting the exportation of English wool and the 
import of foreign cloth. Flemish artisans were induced to 
emigrate to England, and to lay the foundations of a prosper- 
ous woollen manufacture in Norfolk. 

These events, which may be taken as the actual origin of 
the hundred years' war, illustrate the folly and recklessness of 
Alliance of ? nm P VI - So far his quarrel with Edward in. 
England with in Aquitaine and in Scotland had been a personal 
the Flemings. quarre i . anc j t h e English people, though reluctant 
to lose the profitable trade with Bordeaux, were by no means 
enthusiastic either for the continental dominions of their king, 
or even for the establishment of his suzerainty over Scotland. 
But to strike at English trade with Flanders was to inflict a 
mortal blow at the most sensitive of English interests. From 
this time the quarrel with France became a national as well 

France under the Early Valois J i 

as a royal quarrel, and Edward could count upon the unani- 
mous support of his subjects. Still more serious was the 
effect of Philip's action in Flanders. In the fourteenth cen- 
tury, as in the Napoleonic wars at the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, England had the stronger position in a 
trade dispute with the Continent. The Flemish market was 
important to England, but English wool was indispensable to 
Flanders. The reprisals of Edward in., forced upon him by 
the action of the French king, threatened the Flemings with 
the ruin of their most important industry. A new rising, 
more formidable than that of 1328, was at once planned. 
Ghent, which had then held aloof, was now prepared to play 
its part j and in Ghent arose a leader, Jacob van j aco b van 
Artevelde, whose eloquence and decision made him Arteveide. 
for a time practically omnipotent, while his guidance gave to 
the movement a unity and consistency which previous rebel- 
lions had too often lacked. His avowed object was to restore 
the supply of wool to the Flemish looms, and for this purpose 
to establish friendly relations with England. He assembled 
at Ghent the men of the chief cities, and ' showed them that 
they could not live without the King of England; for all 
Flanders was supported by cloth-making, and without wool 
one could not make cloth ; therefore he urged them to keep 
the English king their friend.' At the same time he was 
anxious to avoid any needless infraction of feudal law, and 
therefore suggested that Edward should claim the French 
crown, pointing out that the Flemings could not lawfully serve 
the King of England against the King of France, but that they 
could serve the lawful King of France against the usurper. 

Edward in. saw that war was inevitable ; and the arguments 
of Artevelde convinced him, if any conviction were needed, 
that by putting forward a claim to the crown he 

1 1 • r 1 j • , , Edward III 

would gain powerful supporters, and in the end claims the 
more substantial advantages. In 1337 he pub- Fren ch 
lished his claim before a parliament, and set to 
work to form continental alliances. The Emperor, Lewij 

72 European History, 1273- 1494 

the Bavarian, indignant at Philip's dictation to the Pope, 
Benedict xn., was willing to support the English king. In 
September, 1338, he met Edward at Coblentz, and formally 
invested him with the office of imperial vicar in the provinces 
on the left bank of the Rhine. The Duke of Brabant and 
several other princes of the Netherlands were persuaded or 
bribed to promise contingents to the English army. Edward's 
position seemed to be of overwhelming strength. He could 
attack France on both sides, from Flanders and Artois on 
the north-east, and from Guienne and Gascony on the south- 

But the English successes were by no means so great as 
had been confidently expected. Edward's first expedition 
opening of into Picardy in 1339 was a complete failure. The 
hostilities. Emperor, vacillating as ever, would give no effect- 
ive aid, the Flemings were content with the recovery of the 
wool supply, and it was only the sluggishness of Philip vi. 
which enabled the English forces to retire without serious 
loss. In 1340 the enterprise was renewed. A French and 
Genoese fleet had been collected off Sluys to dispute the 
landing. The Genoese commander refused to fight in a 
position which made it impossible to manoeuvre, and left the 
French vessels to be utterly destroyed in the first important 
encounter of the war. But this naval victory was the solitary 
triumph of the campaign. Although the Flemings, under the 
influence of Artevelde, gave more active assistance than in 
the previous year, Edward was repulsed from the walls of 
St. Omer and Tournai. In September he concluded a truce 
for nine months with Philip vi. The only gainers by the 
war were the Flemings, who had practically abrogated the 
authority of their count, and had organised an independent 
federation of communes. 

It seemed for the moment as if the war might collapse 
altogether in 1340. Edward's allies had either deserted him 
or were obviously lukewarm in his cause. He had spent vast 
sums of money without having any substantial result to show 

France under the Early Valois 73 

for it. His subjects were discontented, and Edward chose 
this moment for a violent quarrel with his chief minister, 
Archbishop Stratford, who was backed up by the English 
parliament. But the dwindling flames of the war were re- 
kindled into a blaze by a quarrel about the sue- succession 
cession in Brittany. Duke John in. died in 1340, quarrel in 
leaving no children. Of his two brothers, the Bnttany * 
elder was dead, but had left a daughter, Jeanne, who was 
married to Charles of Blois, a nephew of Philip vi. The 
younger brother was John de Montfort, who claimed the 
vacant duchy as the nearest male heir. The Count of Blois 
appealed, on behalf of his wife, to the Parliament of Paris, 
and that court decided in her favour. The result was a civil 
war between the French and the Celtic population of Brittany, 
the Celts supporting de Montfort and rejecting the rule of 
Charles of Blois as an alien. Philip vi. determined to support 
the cause of his nephew and the decision of his parliament. 
De Montfort crossed over to England and recognised Edward 
in. by doing homage to him for Brittany. Thus in the case 
of Brittany, as in that of Artois, the two kings were committed 
to principles which ran counter to their own claims. The 
French king, who owed his crown to the so-called Salic law, 1 
appeared as the champion of female succession ; while 
Edward in., who claimed to be King of France through his 
mother, contended for the exclusive right of the male heir. 

The war in Brittany offered to Edward in. 'the finest 
possible entry for the conquest of the kingdom of France,' 
but his intervention served rather to prolong than war in 
to decide the struggle. Charles of Blois, with the Brittany, 
aid of John of Normandy, the heir to the French crown, 
began by gaining important successes. Nantes was captured, 
and John de Montfort sent prisoner to Paris. But the heroic 
Countess of Montfort, a sister of the Count of Flanders, 
supported her husband's cause with masculine energy and 
courage, and the arrival of English succour restored the 
1 See above, p. 64. 

74 European History, 1273- 1494 

balance of forces in Brittany. But Edward ill. still found 
himself confronted by superior numbers, and in 1343 papal 
mediation succeeded in arranging a general truce for three 
years. The truce, however, was not allowed to run its full 
term. John de Montfort escaped from his prison, and the 
severity with which Philip vi. punished some nobles in 
Brittany and Normandy for suspected treason led to a re- 
newal of hostilities in 1345. Edward III. determined to 
make greater efforts than ever, and to attack France on three 
sides — from Guienne, Brittany, and Flanders. In Guienne 
Henry of Lancaster gained a considerable victory at Aube- 
roche, and captured several fortresses which were held by the 
French. In Brittany John de Montfort died, leaving his 
claims to his son, and his death prevented any important 
operations from being undertaken. Meanwhile Edward him- 
self prepared to co-operate with the Flemings on the north- 
east. But his plans were interrupted by what appeared to be 
Murder of a great disaster to his cause. Jacob van Artevelde 
Arteveide. had incurred the distrust of his fellow-citizens. 
He had found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the jarring 
pretensions of the rival cities, or to compose the jealous 
divisions of the fullers and weavers of Ghent. In his alliance 
with England he had gone further than the majority of the 
Flemings desired. They would have been content to im- 
pose conditions upon their count, whereas Artevelde had 
schemed to depose him altogether, and to transfer the direct 
government of Flanders to the Prince of Wales. But the 
final accusation against the once popular leader was that he 
had placed the great treasure of Flanders at the disposal of 
the English king. In a rising of the infuriated mob, Artevelde's 
house was stormed and he himself slain. For the moment 
Edward feared that he might lose his hold upon Flanders. 
But Artevelde s policy survived him. The Flemings were not 
prepared to make unconditional submission to their count, 
and to extort conditions the alliance with England must be 
maintained. They hastened to excuse their conduct to the 

France under the Early Valois 75 

English king, and to assure him of the continuance of their 
support. But Edward had received the news of another loss, 
which checked his advance in 1345. This was the death of 
his brother-in-law, William iv. of Holland, Hainault, and 
Zealand. As he left no children, his territories passed to a 
nephew, the son of Lewis the Bavarian (see p. 108). The 
Emperor had already deserted the English alliance, and the 
establishment of the House of Wittelsbach in the dominions 
of William iv. broke up the coalition which Edward in. had 
formed on the borders of France. 

These checks induced Edward, not to relax his efforts, but to 
alter his plans. The military interest of 1346 seemed likely to 
be concentrated in the south-west. A large French campaign 
army under Philip's eldest son, John of Normandy, of x 3* 6 - 
entered Guienne, recovered many of the places lost in the 
previous year, and besieged the inferior English troops in 
Aiguillon. Edward in. collected a large army at Southamp- 
ton, and set sail on July 2. His intention was to land at 
Bordeaux, and march to the relief of Aiguillon. But his 
voyage was hindered by storms, and the advice of some of 
his French followers induced him to make for the coast of 
Normandy. The province was wholly unprepared for attack, 
and the English met with little resistance on their devastat- 
ing march. Along the valley of the Seine they advanced as 
far as Poissi, where the flames of the burning houses were 
seen from the walls of Paris. Meanwhile, Philip vi. had 
strained every nerve to collect a second army for the defence 
of his capital. Among the allies who came to his aid were 
John of Bohemia and the newly elected King of the Romans, 
Charles iv. But Edward declined to assault Paris, or to face 
an army which was now larger than his own. Misleading 
Philip by a feint in the direction of Tours, he crossed the 
Seine at Poissi, and marched at full speed towards Picardy, 
in order to effect a junction with the Flemings. Philip 
followed with his enormous force, and the destruction of the 
bridges over the Somme seemed to shut the English in a 

76 European History, 1273- 1494 

trap. But a captured peasant guided Edward to a compara- 
tively unguarded ford at Blanche Taque, and the French 
arrived just as the last of the enemy had crossed. The 
battle, however, was only postponed, though the crossing of 
the river enabled Edward to choose his own ground, instead 
of righting at a disadvantage with an impassable river behind 
him. To continue the retreat with an exhausted army pur- 
sued by superior numbers must have ended in disaster, and 
Battle of Edward drew up his troops at Crecy, near Abbe- 
crecy, 1346. v iii e> to try t h e hazard of the first pitched battle 
of the war. The result was to teach the world a lesson in the 
art of warfare which had only been imperfectly suggested by 
the battles of Stirling Bridge, Bannockburn, and Courtrai. 
It was a combat of infantry against cavalry, of missile weapons 
against heavy armour and lances, of trained professional 
soldiers against a combination of foreign mercenaries with 
disorderly feudal levies. And the inevitable result was made 
the more decisive by the utter want of generalship on the 
part of the French king. Obeying a momentary impulse 
of rage, he ordered his troops to engage when they were 
exhausted by a long march. The Genoese crossbows were 
wetted by rain, and their bolts fell harmless, while they were 
exposed to a hail of arrows from the English longbows. 
Then the men-at-arms charged over the unfortunate Genoese, 
and were already in disorder before they could reach the 
enemy. There was individual prowess in plenty, but no 
organisation or discipline, and the bravest of the assailants 
only rushed upon a certain fate. Philip fled in despair, but 
the King of Bohemia, the Counts of Flanders and Alengon, 
and many lesser princes and nobles, were left dead upon the 
field. Edward ill. made no attempt to turn back upon 
France. It would have been difficult for him to feed his 
soldiers in a district which had been already swept bare by 
the requisitions and the pillage of two great armies. After 
allowing three days for rest and the burying of the dead, he 
continued his march northwards, and laid siege to Calais. 

France under the Early Valois yy 

His victory had decisive results both in the west and the 
south. The siege of Aiguillon was raised, and the retire- 
ment of the Duke of Normandy left Guienne at the mercy of 
the English. Henry of Lancaster recovered the places lost 
at the beginning of the year, and, entering Poitou, took and 
sacked Poitiers. In Brittany the French cause met with 
almost equal disasters. Charles of Blois was captured and 
carried a prisoner to England, and, though his wife continued 
the struggle, the party of de Montfort had for a time a secure 
predominance. To complete the list of failures, an attempted 
diversion by David of Scotland, who invaded England in the 
autumn of 1346, ended in the king's defeat and capture at 
the battle of Nevill's Cross. 

Meanwhile Edward in. was engaged in the blockade of 
Calais, where Jean de Vienne held out with heroic obstinacy 
for nearly a whole year. The death of Lewis of siege of 
Flanders at Crecy seemed to open the prospect Calais . n&-i. 
of a reconciliation of the Flemings with France, and if this 
could have been effected, the siege would probably have 
ended in failure. The young Count, Lewis de Male, had 
done nothing to incur the enmity of his subjects, and they 
welcomed his return with enthusiasm. But in their treaty 
with Edward in. the Flemings had agreed that their new ruler 
should marry an English princess. This stipulation Lewis 
refused to fulfil, and when the citizens tried to coerce him, 
he escaped from subjects who had become his gaolers and 
returned to the French court. His departure left the Flemings 
bound to the English alliance, and to Philip vi.'s lavish offers 
of bribes they turned a deaf ear. The siege could only be 
raised by force, and Philip collected an army for that purpose. 
But when he approached he found the English too strongly 
entrenched, and retired without risking a battle. Thus 
deprived of all hope of succour from outside, the defenders 
were forced to accept Edward's terms, and to hand over the 
town, with six of the principal burghers, to his mercy. The 
burghers were spared on the entreaty of Queen Philippa, but 

78 European History, 1273- 1494 

the whole population of Calais was expelled to make room 
for English settlers. Gradually, as Edward's wrath at the 
prolonged resistance died away, some of the original inhabi- 
tants were allowed to return, but the population of Calais 
continued to be preponderantly English during the two 
centuries that it remained subject to England. 

The fall of Calais was the last military disaster of Philip vi.'s 
reign. Both England and France were exhausted by the 
strain of the contest, and the outbreak of the terrible Black 
Death, which ravaged western Europe in 1348 and 1349, 
diverted men's minds from international quarrels. A truce, 
originally concluded for ten months, was prolonged by mutual 
consent for several years. Philip concluded his reign in 
Dau nine peace, and before his death (August 22, 1350) he 
annexed to was able to add an important province to France, 
France. an( ^ tnus to g a j n some consolation for the losses 

of the English war. Among the largest fragments of the old 
kingdoms of Aries was Dauphine, ruled as a fief of the Empire 
by the Dauphins of Vienne. The last of these princes, 
Humbert, had supported Lewis the Bavarian in his struggles 
against France and the Avignon Popes. But like so many 
of the Emperor's allies, he was alienated by Lewis's weakness 
and selfishness, and pecuniary troubles forced him to change 
his policy and to draw closer to France. In 1343 he con- 
cluded a treaty with Philip vi. by which Dauphine', in default 
of lawful issue to himself, was to fall to a younger son of the 
French king. In the next year this treaty was modified to 
secure the inheritance to the heirs to the French crown j and 
finally in 1349 Humbert's life-interest in the province was 
bought out by payment of a large sum, and Dauphine was 
handed over to the House of Valois, and in the course of the 
next generation became the regular appanage of the eldest 
son of the reigning king. About the same time, France 
acquired another advantage on the side of Flanders. In 1348 
Lewis de Male recovered his county, and by encouraging 
internal quarrels among his subjects, he not only evaded the 

France under the Early Valois 79 

hated obligation of an English marriage, but also restored 
some measure of authority over the turbulent Flemings. As 
long as his power could be maintained, it might be hoped 
that France would escape the dangers of Flemish co-operation 
with the English. 

John the Good, as he is called by the caprice of historical 
nomenclature, was no better a ruler than his father, and was 
even more unfortunate. He had already been Acces8iono f 
active both in military and civil affairs, but had King John, 
profited little by his experience. War, in his I35 °* 
eyes, was nothing but a tournament on a large scale. Of 
orderly finance he had no conception ; and as to the welfare 
of his subjects he had neither interest nor insight. He was 
a reckless spendthrift, imbued with the chivalrous ideals of 
the day, and subject to sudden gusts of passion, alternating 
with fitful and uncalculating acts of generosity. His acces- 
sion marks the appearance on the scene of a new generation 
of actors. The Black Death had been most fatal to the 
lower classes, but it had by no means spared those of higher 
rank. In a single year John had lost his mother, Jeanne of 
Burgundy ; his first wife, the sister of Charles iv. ; his uncle 
Eudes iv., who had added Franche-Comte' to the duchy of 
Burgundy, and now left both Burgundies to an infant grand- 
son, Philip de Rouvre; and his cousin, Jeanne of Navarre, 
whose kingdom and possessions in France passed to her son, 
deservedly known in history as Charles the Bad, and destined 
to be the evil genius of France in the hour of her worst mis- 
fortunes. In England there had been a similar clearance of 
prominent personages. Edward ill. still lived, but he played 
little further part in the French war, where his place was 
taken by the Black Prince. 

The truce with England expired in 1351, but for some 
years the revived hostilities were only local and unimportant. 
So great was the mutual exhaustion of the two states, that 
the new Pope, Innocent vi., elected in 1352, almost succeeded 
in negotiating a general peace. But, as before, it was internal 

80 European History \ 1273- 1494 

disturbances in France which led to a renewal of the war. 
Charles of Navarre had been invested with the county of 
Renewed war Evreux and with the large possessions of his 
with the mother in Normandy and the Ile-de- France. He 
English. had. also received in 1352 the hand of the king's 
daughter, Jeanne. But his ambition was still unsatisfied, and 
John took no further pains to conciliate a prince who could 
advance claims to Champagne and Brie, and might, under 
favourable circumstances, become a rival candidate for the 
crown. In 1354 the king's favourite, Charles of Spain, was 
assassinated by the emissaries of the King of Navarre. John 
was induced to pardon his son-in-law ; but the reconciliation 
was only hollow, and Charles was impelled by real or imagi- 
nary grievances to open negotiations with Edward m. The 
English king could not resist the temptation of invading 
France with the aid of so powerful an ally, and prepared to 
enter Normandy through Calais in 1355. This danger com- 
pelled John once more to make overtures to his rebellious 
son-in-law, and Edward found himself deprived of the promised 
aid. He landed at Calais, ravaged the neighbouring districts, 
and then withdrew to repel a Scottish invasion. The Black 
Prince was more successful. Starting from Bordeaux, he 
marched through Languedoc, treating that province as 
Edward III. had treated Normandy in 1346. But the French 
king was as reckless as ever. Early in 1356 he surprised 
Charles of Navarre as he was banqueting with the Dauphin 
at Rouen, put his chief supporters to death, and carried the 
king a prisoner to Paris. The result of this violent act was 
to excite general disaffection. Charles's brother, Philip of 
Navarre, promptly took up arms, and appealed for English 
support. The Black Prince was not slow to respond. His 
plan was to march northward through the most fertile districts 
of France, cross the Loire, and advance through Maine to 
join the rebels in Normandy. But his force was insufficient 
for such an enterprise. John hastily collected an army, the 
Loire valley was blocked, and Prince Edward had to retire 
before vastly superior numbers. 

France under the Early Valois 81 

John hurried eagerly in pursuit, and actually reached Poitiers 
before the enemy. A battle was now inevitable. So hopeless 
were the odds that the Black Prince was willing Battle of 
to accept any honourable terms, but John declined Poitiers, 1356. 
to let the enemy escape. All the advantages, however, of 
superior numbers were thrown away by the egregious folly of 
the French king. He sent a small detachment of men-at- 
arms to attack the English position on the hill, while he 
ordered the bulk of his army to dismount on the plain. The 
men-at-arms, who had to advance by a narrow lane under 
the arrows of the English archers, were speedily routed, and 
the English cavalry followed up this success by butchering 
the dismounted host, who couid neither stand their charge 
nor fly. The king, after fighting bravely to the last, was 
taken prisoner with his youngest son Philip, and the flower of 
the French nobility either shared his captivity or escaped it 
only by death on the field. As at Crecy, the English made 
no attempt to profit by their victory. The Black Prince was 
content to carry his illustrious prisoner to Bordeaux, whence 
he subsequently despatched him to London. 

The crushing defeat at Poitiers and the captivity of the 
king marked the climax of a long series of disasters, of which 
the cause was to be sought in the continued mal- Discontent 
administration of French kings and ministers. in Fr ance. 
No country could be brought into such a plight as that to 
which France was reduced without giving rise to serious and 
dangerous discontent, and this discontent had already found 
expression before the campaign of 1356. From 1350 to 1355 
frequent assemblies of local estates had been held for the 
raising of supplies, and these had not been voted without 
ominous grumbling and demands for redress of grievances. 
At last, in November 1355, King John had found it neces- 
sary to convoke the States-General of Languedoil, s 
in order to deliberate on the best mode of resist- General 
ing the national foes. The ' deputies of the of I355, 
three estates ' — for nobles and clergy could only attend when 

82 European History ', 1 273- 1494 

elected by their order — met in Paris on November 30. The 
orator of the third estate, in the formal reply to the chancel- 
lor's opening speech, was Etienne Marcel, provost of the 
merchants in Paris, and for the next four years one of the 
most important men in France. After deliberating on the 
matters submitted to them, the States drew up the great 
ordinance of December 28, 1355. They granted to the king 
a gabelk upon salt, and a tax of eight deniers the pound on 
the sale of all commodities. These were to be levied upon all 
classes — clergy, nobles, non-nobles, and even the members of 
the royal family. The collection of the taxes was to be super- 
intended by delegates chosen by the estates, and the expen- 
diture was to be controlled by a council of nine, three from 
each estate. Purveyance and the arbitrary alteration of the 
money-standard were forbidden. Finally, the dates were 
fixed for two subsequent sessions — one in March and the 
other in November of the next year. 

It is obvious that the States-General acted, whether 
consciously or unconsciously, in imitation of the English 
Financial Parliament, and took advantage of the financial 
blunders of difficulties of the crown to impose constitutional 
the tates. c h e cks upon the royal power. But, unfortunately, 
the financial skill of the estates was by no means equal to 
the importance of their objects, or to their energy in striving 
after them. The gabelle on salt has in all ages been the most 
unpopular tax in France, and the tax upon sales breaks all 
the canons of taxation which modern economists have agreed 
to accept. Great disaffection was excited by the attempt to 
collect the tax, and in some provinces serious disturbances 
took place. When the States-General met in March they 
yielded at once to the expression of public opinion, repealed 
the obnoxious taxes, and imposed in their place an extra- 
ordinary income-tax, which was so adjusted that the per- 
centage increased as the income diminished. After taking 
steps to control the collection and expenditure of the revenue, 
the estates adjourned till May 6. They then discovered that 

France under the Early Vdlois 83 

the amount raised was wholly insufficient to defray the neces- 
sary expenditure, and in their ignorance and perplexity they 
reimposed the unpopular taxes on salt and sales, and ordered 
the levy in June and August of two extra charges upon 

After the battle of Poitiers matters seemed more hopeless 
than ever. The king's eldest son, Charles, 1 assumed the 
government on his father's imprisonment, but he displayed 
little of the wisdom or capacity for which he was afterwards 
renowned. His first act was to convene the States-General 
on October 17. The assembly was unusually State8 . 
large, the third estate being represented by excep- General of 
tional numbers. Of the nobles, however, the ct ' I356 ' 
attendance was very small. Large numbers of them had 
perished at Poitiers, and the survivors were discredited. 
Thus the balance of classes, so necessary for the success of 
constitutional changes, was overthrown. The third estate 
became preponderant in the assembly, and its leader, Marcel, 
obtained considerable support from the clergy through his 
ally Robert Lecoq, Bishop of Laon. The demands of the 
estates were far more extreme than those of the earlier 
assemblies. They were no longer content to impose checks 
upon the government, but determined to take it into their 
own hands. The royal ministers were to be dismissed, and 
thirty-six delegates — twelve from each estate — were to be 
appointed to manage the affairs of the kingdom. At the 
same time, outspoken complaints were made of the failure 
to carry out promised reforms, especially in the matter of the 
coinage, and the release of the King of Navarre was de- 
manded. But the Dauphin, encouraged by the grant of a 
considerable subsidy from the estates of Languedoc, was not 
prepared to hand over his authority to the States-General. 
He prorogued the assembly, endeavoured to raise money 

1 Charles had been created by his father Duke of Normandy as well as 
Dauphin of Vienne. It is shorter and simpler to call him the Dauphin, 
though to contemporaries he was known by his higher title. 

84 European History -, 1273- 1494 

from the provincial estates, and even ventured on a new 
debasement of the currency. The reforming party was driven 
by this obstinacy to revolutionary methods. The mob rose 
in Paris, and Marcel ordered the royal officials to cease mint- 
ing the inferior coins. The Dauphin, who had gone to Metz 
to demand the mediation of Charles iv. with England, 
returned to find his capital in open revolt. Unable to resist 
the popular demands, he was forced to hold a new meeting 
of the States-General on February 5, and to accept the ordin- 
ordinanceof ance which they drew up of March 3, 1357. In 
March 3, 1357. t hi s t h e policy which had been proposed in the 
earlier session was carried out, and the royal power was sub- 
ordinated to that of the States. The commission of thirty- 
six was definitely appointed to superintend every branch of 
the administration. An aid was granted for the maintenance 
of 3000 men-at-arms, but it was to be collected and spent, 
not by royal officials, but by nominees of the States. The 
predominance of the third estate is conspicuous in the articles 
directed against the nobles. They were forbidden to carry on 
private wars, and if they disregarded the prohibition, the local 
authorities or the people might arrest them and compel them 
to desist by fines or imprisonment. Not only was purveyance 
forbidden, but it was permitted to the people to assemble at 
the ringing of a bell, and to oppose its collectors by force. 

King John, who was about to start from Bordeaux to 
London, sent a message to Paris to annul an ordinance which 
dealt so shrewd a blow at the royal authority. But the 
Parisians were not prepared to submit to a distant and captive 
king, the Dauphin was forced to promulgate the ordinance, 
and the revolution in the government of France was com- 
Anarchyin pleted. The thirty-six showed their power by 
France. purging the royal council and the magistracy of 

all who were suspected of hostility to the popular party. But 
any hopes that the change of rulers would bring prosperity to 
France were doomed to disappointment. The revolutionary 
government was no more successful than that which it had 

France under the Early Valois 85 

superseded. The provinces were not prepared to submit to 
the dictation of Paris, and their discontent encouraged the 
Dauphin to wait for an opportunity of recovering power. 
The nobles became more and more indignant at the pre- 
dominance of the bourgeois. The English, still exulting in 
their triumph of the previous year, were content to accept a 
truce for two years ; but the mercenary troops, deprived of 
their legitimate occupation, wandered about the country 
pillaging or levying blackmail on the people. Conscious that 
their position was insecure, and that the Dauphin might at 
any moment become actively hostile, Marcel and his associates 
endeavoured to secure a powerful ally by releasing Charles of 
Navarre (November, 1357). The only result was to kindle a 
civil war. The Dauphin had been compelled to promise the 
restoration of all his cousin's possessions, but his lieutenants 
would not give up the strong places, and Charles the Bad 
took up arms. For the moment he was the ally of the 
bourgeois, but he had no real sympathy with the cause of 
reform, and sought to fish in troubled waters for his own gain. 
The disasters of the ruling dynasty seemed to offer him a fair 
chance of establishing a right to the throne. In his speeches 
to the people he was careful to point out that his own claim 
was much stronger than that of Edward 111. 

As the reforming movement became weaker and more 
discredited, it began to adopt more violent and revolutionary 
methods. The career of Marcel is marked by Murder of 
increasing narrowness and selfishness. He had the mar8h *is- 
begun by advocating measures for the regeneration of France; 
then he had become the champion of the third estate ; within 
that estate he was driven to maintain the preponderance of 
Paris and its mob ; and at last he had to fight in Paris for his 
own personal ascendency. At the beginning of 1358 his 
adherents adopted as their ensign a red and blue cap. The 
Dauphin was raising an army against the King of Navarre, 
and had recalled many of his former ministers. A new 
exhibition of mob violence was necessary to intimidate him 

86 European History, 1273- 1494 

into submission. Marcel forced his way into the Louvre, 
where the marshals of Normandy and Champagne were 
murdered in their master's presence. The unfortunate prince 
fell on his knees to beg for his own life, and had to submit to 
the indignity of wearing the parti-coloured cap, which was 
placed on his head by Marcel himself. For the moment this 
deplorable act seemed to have achieved its end. The 
Dauphin was cowed into submission ; his unpopular advisers 
were dismissed, and Charles of Navarre was admitted to Paris 
and formally reconciled with his cousin. 

But the murder of the marshals was really as impolitic as it 
was criminal. The open dictation of the mob, and the failure 
Royalist of the bourgeois government to remedy the mis- 
reaction, fortunes of France, provoked a violent reaction in 
favour of the monarchy which had been so insultingly defied. 
With fatal self-confidence Marcel allowed the Dauphin, who 
now assumed the title of regent, to leave Paris and to throw 
himself upon the loyalty of the provinces. Charles sum- 
moned the States-General to meet in May 1358, at Compiegne 
instead of in Paris. The meeting was not very numerous, 
but it expressed the prevalent sentiment of France in favour 
of royalty. Marcel endeavoured to strengthen himself by 
forming a league of towns for the maintenance of common 
interests, but it was only joined by the towns in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Paris. Civil war was inevitable, and the 
new fortifications which Marcel had built to protect the capital 
against English attack were now to be employed for the 
defence of the citizens against their fellow-countrymen. 

At this critical moment the evils of France were suddenly 
multiplied by the rising of a class for which neither king, 
The nobles, nor citizens had done anything. The 

jacquerie. ser f s or villeins of France had suffered terrible 
hardships within the last decade. Their numbers had been 
decimated by the Black Death, and the survivors had to add 
to their own tasks the work of those who had perished. 
Their hard-won savings had been wrung from them to pay 

France under the Early Valois 87 

the ransom of their lords, who had fallen into the hands of 
the English at Poitiers or elsewhere. The lands from which 
they extracted a scanty living were devastated by the mercenary 
soldiers in peace as well as in war. Despairing of redress, 
they determined, at any rate, to avenge their sufferings. The 
story of their revolt is one of almost unredeemed horror. It 
began in the district of Beauvais, and rapidly spread over 
Champagne, Picardy, and the Ile-de-France. Castles were 
burned; men, women, and even children were tortured and 
put to death. But the nobles soon recovered from the first 
panic, and took arms against enemies whom they now loathed 
as much as they had previously despised them. The ill- 
armed peasants were unable to face the trained men-at-arms, 
and the suppression of the revolt was as murderous and 
destructive as its outbreak. 

There was little real sympathy between peasants and bour- 
geois. They had, it is true, a common enemy in the nobles, 
and Marcel had tried to use the Jacquerie as a diversion in 
his own favour. But he gave no efficient aid to his allies, 
and his half-hearted connection only brought upon himself 
the discredit and disaster of their ruinous defeat. From the 
victorious troops of the nobles the regent was able to form 
an army for the reduction of his rebellious capital. The 
citizens were bellicose, but they were not warlike, siege 
and it was necessary to bring trained troops to ofParis - 
the aid of their undisciplined valour. Charles of Navarre was 
appointed captain-general of Paris, and brought a mercenary 
army for its defence. But his aims were as purely selfish 
as ever. While professing to defend the city he was 
negotiating with the regent for its surrender. Such proceed- 
ings excited serious mistrust, which was increased by quarrels 
between the citizens and the soldiers of Navarre. At last 
Charles left Paris for St. Denis, and further resistance seemed 
almost hopeless. The citizens were willing to make terms, 
but the Dauphin would not negotiate with the murderer of 
the marshals. Marcel felt that in such a dilemma he could 

88 European History, 1273- 1494 

no longer trust his followers. A party was already formed 
within the city which was hostile to his continued ascendency, 
and in favour of restoring the royal authority. If the citizens 
had to choose between their own safety and the interests of 
their provost, their choice could not be long delayed. There 
Murder of was only one apparent means of escape, and 
Marcel. Marcel clutched at it. He offered to surrender 

Paris to Charles of Navarre, and to proclaim him King of 
France. But on the very night when this treacherous design 
was to be carried out, Marcel was assassinated by one of his 
own followers (July 31, 1358). It is easy to see and condemn 
the errors of his later career, but his name will always be 
memorable in French history as the leader of the most 
notable attempt, before 1789, to give to France a constitu- 
tional form of government. 

Two days after the death of Marcel the regent Charles 
entered Paris, and the restoration of the royal authority was 
signalised by the severe punishment of its chief opponents. 
In the next year Charles bought off the King of Navarre, who 
had lost all hopes of gaining the crown with the collapse of 
the bourgeois revolution. There still remained the war with 
England. During the truce John had been negotiating for 
English in- his release, and in 1359 he agreed to the cession 
vasion, 1359. f near iy the whole of northern and western 
France. But the Dauphin was of opinion that the mutilation 
of his inheritance was too high a price to pay for his father's 
liberty. He convened the States-General, now the docile 
instrument of the prince whose authority had been so recently 
defied by its predecessors. The so-called treaty of London 
was unanimously rejected, and Edward ill. had no alternative 
but to renew the war. He collected an enormous army for 
the invasion of France in October, 1359. But the Dauphin 
had learned a lesson from experience, and would fight no 
more battles like Crecy and Poitiers. The English army 
advanced to Rheims, but found the city too strongly defended. 
An attack upon Burgundy was repelled, not by arms, but by 

France under the Early Valois 89 

the payment of a large sum of money. Edward marched 
against Paris, but the Dauphin refused to quit the shelter of 
the walls, and the invaders had to turn westwards to Chartres. 
The country had been so desolated by war and pestilence 
that it was difficult to feed the army, the season was wet and 
unfavourable, and Edward in., finding that his army was 
wasting away without gaining any success, agreed to negotiate. 
By the treaty of Bretigni (May 8, 1360) he re- Treaty of 
nounced his claims to the French throne and to Breti e ni - 
the Norman and Plantagenet provinces north of the Loire. 
In return he was to enjoy full sovereignty, without any homage 
to the French king, in his own conquest of Calais, and in the 
possessions which Eleanor had brought to Henry 11., viz. 
Guienne, Gascony, Poitou, Saintonge, and a number of smaller 
territories. France was to renounce the Scottish, and England 
the Flemish alliance. The ransom of King John was fixed at 
three million crowns, to be paid in six yearly instalments. 
On receipt of the first instalment the king was to be released, 
but hostages were to be given for the payment of the re- 
mainder. It was not easy to raise the ransom from exhausted 
France; but Galeazzo Visconti was opportunely willing to 
pay six hundred thousand gold florins to gain for his son the 
hand of a French princess, and this bargain with the Milanese 
despot enabled John to return to his kingdom. He seems, 
however, to have found the cares of government a disagree- 
able burden after the comparative gaiety of his imprisonment 
in London. In 1363 his second son, Louis of Anjou, escaped 
from Calais, whither he had gone as one of his father's host- 
ages. John seized the opportunity to parade a chivalrous 
regard for his plighted word, and at the same time to abandon 
duties which had become difficult and distasteful. Leaving 
the regency once more to his eldest son, he sailed to England 
in January 1364, and died in London three months later. 
Before his departure he had done one act which is of cardinal 
importance in the history of France. In 1361 a return of 
the plague had carried off Philip de Rouvre, the childless 

90 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

ruler of Burgundy, Franche-Comte', and Artois. The two 
latter provinces, which had come to Philip through the female 
Duchy of line, passed to Margaret of Flanders, but the duchy 
Burgundy. f Burgundy escheated to the crown. A prudent 
king would have retained the direct rule of so valuable a 
possession ; but John, with reckless generosity, gave it away 
to his fourth son Philip, who had fought boldly by his side at 
Poitiers, and had shared his captivity. This Philip the Bold is 
the founder of the great line of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. 
The new king, Charles v., had been the practical ruler of 
France since the battle of Poitiers. During those eight years 
Government he had learned from harsh experience many 
of Charles v. i essons which stood him in good stead when 
circumstances enabled him to gain some success. The very 
weakness of his bodily health, which contemporaries attributed 
to poison administered by Charles of Navarre during their 
early friendship, debarred him from the active exercises of 
chivalry, and impelled him to cultivate his mental faculties. 
Fragile, timid, a stranger to the joys of the tournament and 
the battle-field, he seems strangely out of place in the days of 
the Black Prince and Bertrand du Guesclin, of John Chandos 
and the Captal de Buch. Yet Charles v. is the greatest of 
the Valois kings before Louis XI., and must be reckoned 
among the founders of modern France. His chief task was 
to restore the despotic power of the crown, which had been 
so rudely shaken between 1355 an( ^ I 35^- Arbitrary taxation 
was to supersede the grant of supplies by the estates ; military 
and civil officials were to be royal nominees ; even the local 
assessors and collectors of taxes were to be under the super- 
vision and control of the crown. Only once did the States- 
General meet during the reign, and then they were summoned 
merely to strengthen the king's hands. But the despotism of 
Charles v. was a capable and orderly government, wholly 
different from that of his predecessors. It is curious to note 
how this absolute king adopts and turns to his own advantage 
the expedients of his enemies. He reimposed the gabellt 

France under the Early Valois 91 

on salt, and the aides or taxes on the sale of commodities, 
the two financial expedients of the States of 1355. He 
retained the e/us, the local collectors whom the States had 
nominated to levy these charges, though he was careful to 
take their appointment into his own hands. He gave tardy 
expression to the will of the estates by putting an end to the 
debasement of the currency, the worst of all grievances, and 
by imposing strict limitations on the right of purveyance. 
When his brother, Louis of Anjou, provoked discontent by 
his brutal administration in Languedoc, Charles did not 
hesitate to dismiss him from the governorship, and to grant 
redress to the complainants. Such a government was a great 
and a novel boon in the fourteenth century, and it is only on 
its financial side that it is open to hostile criticism. The 
expenses, both civil and military, were enormous, and the 
people were subjected to a heavier burden of taxation than 
they had ever experienced before. And the taxes were not 
only excessive in amount and arbitrary in their imposition, 
they were also oppressive and unequal. To increase the 
receipts from the gabelle, Charles v. introduced the practice 
of requiring every family to purchase at least a fixed amount 
of salt from the royal granaries ; and the principle of equality, 
which is enjoined in his ordinances, was infringed by the 
frequent grant or sale of exemptions, sometimes to a class, 
sometimes to a district or a corporation. It is these exemp- 
tions, multiplied as time goes on, which make the financial 
system of France, down to the Revolution, so unjust, so dis- 
orderly, and so inefficient. And Charles v. was also respon- 
sible for a disastrous innovation. His predecessors had 
received a revenue from customs duties levied on the fron- 
tiers of their kingdom. Charles was the first to hamper 
domestic trade by imposing customs on the transit from one 
province to another. 

But in spite of these drawbacks the administration of 
Charles v. was eminently successful, and it was this success 
which led his subjects to approve, or even to welcome, the 

92 European History, 1273- 1494 

arbitrary character of his rule. A people which had suffered 
from every kind of misfortune, from foreign invasion, pesti- 
The French l ence > an d CHril strife, as the French had done 
welcome in the middle of the fourteenth century, is 
absolute rule. never verv ea g er t lirxiit the power of a capable 
ruler. What it needs is a government which will maintain 
order at home, and retrieve the national honour by victories 
over foreign foes ; and to such a government much will be 
forgiven. If the English had reason to approve the personal 
rule of the Tudor sovereigns, the French a century earlier 
had infinitely more reason to support a king who gratified 
their most imperious desires. For not only did Charles v. 
remedy the most glaring defects of his predecessors' adminis- 
tration, but this most unmilitary of kings was able to gain 
triumphs over the hated English which a few years before 
must have seemed impossible. 

The first opportunity for an indirect renewal of the strife 
with England was offered by affairs in Brittany. The treaty 
war in of Bretigni had left unsettled the long struggle 

Brittany. between John de Montfort and Charles of Blois, 
and England and France were not pledged to abandon the 
cause of their respective candidates. In the very year of his 
accession Charles v. determined to strike a vigorous blow in 
favour of the House of Blois, and sent Bertrand du Guesclin, 
whose military genius he had already detected, to lead a con- 
siderable force into Brittany. But this first enterprise was 
not crowned with success. The superior discipline of the 
English mercenaries enabled them to gain a decisive victory 
in the hard-fought battle of Aurai (September 29, 1364). 
Charles of Blois was slain, and Bertrand du Guesclin was left 
a prisoner in the hands of John Chandos. To prevent a 
complete transfer of the allegiance of Brittany to the English 
king Charles v. found it necessary to negotiate, and in April, 
1365, John de Montfort was recognised as duke, with the 
proviso that if he died without male issue the duchy should 
pass to the eldest son of Charles of Blois. 

France under the Early Valois 93 

More important in its ultimate results was French interven- 
tion in Castile. The government of Peter the Cruel had 
excited the bitter enmity of his subjects, who war in 
found a champion in the king's bastard half- Castile, 
brother, Henry of Trastamara. Henry appealed for aid to 
France, and Charles v. welcomed the opportunity to rid his 
country of the hated free companies. Bertrand du Guesclin, 
who had been ransomed from his captors, raised an army 
among these professional soldiers, and crossed the Pyrenees 
at the end of 1365. The task of the invaders was facilitated 
by a general revolt of the Castilians. Henry of Trastamara 
was crowned king, and Peter fled to Bordeaux to implore 
English assistance. The Black Prince was conscious that 
French ascendency in the Spanish peninsula threatened his 
duchy of Aquitaine, and chivalrous motives impelled him to 
support a legitimate king against a usurper. Peter made the 
most lavish promises of pay to his auxiliaries, and the Black 
Prince became surety for the good faith of his guest. In 
1367 all preparations were complete, and the treacherous 
Charles of Navarre gave a passage through his kingdom to 
the invaders. Between Najara and Navarrette, not far from 
the later battle-field of Vittoria, a complete victory was won 
over the French and Castilian forces. Du Guesclin was once 
more a captive, Peter the Cruel recovered his crown, and 
Henry of Trastamara had to seek safety in exile. But Peter 
proved to be as faithless as he was cruel. He declined to 
fulfil his promises to allies who seemed to be no longer neces- 
sary, and the English prince was in great straits to satisfy the 
soldiers who had trusted in his surety. To make matters 
worse the troops were wasted with disease, and the Black 
Prince himself contracted a fever which remained in his 
blood and led to his early death. With his temper em- 
bittered and his health broken, he led the remnants of his 
army back to Gascony. His departure was followed by a 
new revolution in Castile. Henry of Trastamara returned 
to reclaim the crown, and du Guesclin, whom the Black 

94 European History, 1273- 1494 

Prince imprudently allowed to pay a second ransom, once 
more entered his service. In 1369 the French troops won 
the battle of Montiel, and in a personal interview which 
followed Peter was stabbed to the heart by his half-brother. 
Thus all the fruits of the battle of Najara were lost, and a 
king was seated in Castile who was pledged to the French 

These events in Castile encouraged Charles v. to carry out 
a long-cherished design for the reconquest of the English 
Renewal of provinces. A pretext for a rupture was found in 
English war. fa e discontent which was excited in Aquitaine by 
the heavy taxes levied by the Black Prince to defray the 
expenses of his Spanish expedition. In 1368 several of the 
Gascon nobles, regardless of the treaty of Bretigni, appealed 
to Charles v., as their suzerain, to redress their grievances. 
Charles delayed a final rupture until he had made his prepara- 
tions, and had heard of the triumph of his ally in Castile. 
In 1369 he summoned the Black Prince to appear in Paris 
to answer the complaints of his subjects before the court of 
peers. Edward replied grimly that he would willingly go to 
Paris, but with sixty thousand men in his company. It was 
easier, however, to utter the threat than to carry it out. The 
conditions which had enabled the English to gain some con- 
spicuous successes in the earlier war were now altered, and 
to some extent reversed. The wise government of Charles v. 
had already removed many of the administrative evils which 
had crippled France under his grandfather and his father. 
Thanks to du Guesclin, the French king could now put into 
the field a professional army under capable leaders, in place 
of the disorderly feudal levies which had been cut to pieces 
at Crecy and Poitiers. The Black Prince was no longer the 
active and resolute commander that he had shown himself 
before his illness, and he lost some of his most capable 
lieutenants, notably Chandos, who died in 1370. The 
provinces ceded at Bretigni had had some years' experience 
of English rule, and their discontent was stimulated by a 

France under the Early Valois 95 

growing sense of national sympathy with the rest of France. 
Another very prominent cause of the reversal of military 
success in the years following 1369 is to be found in the 
cautious tactics deliberately adopted and enforced by Charles v. 
himself. For an invading army victory is imperatively neces- 
sary ; for the defenders it is enough not to be defeated. 
Charles forbade his generals, no matter what provocation 
they received, to risk an engagement in the open field. 
They were to shut their troops in the strong towns, and to 
leave the English armies to be wasted by disease, by want of 
provisions, and by the difficulty of coercing a English 
hostile population. As the invaders departed, the disasters. 
French could harass their march, cut off stragglers and sup- 
plies, and occupy the territory which the enemy was compelled 
to evacuate. These tactics were eminently successful, and 
they were immensely aided by the support of the Castilian 
fleet, which enabled the French to gain a temporary naval 
ascendency. This deprived the English of direct communi- 
cation with the coast of Aquitaine, and forced them to carry 
on military operations at a disastrous distance from their 
ultimate base of supplies. Almost the only English success 
was the capture of Limoges in 1370 by the Black Prince, 
who blackened his own reputation by ordering an indis- 
criminate massacre of the inhabitants. Soon afterwards he 
was compelled by illness to return to England, and to resign 
his duchy of Aquitaine, which he never revisited. In 1372 
the English fleet, which was carrying an army under the Earl 
of Pembroke to Bordeaux, was destroyed off La Rochelle by 
the combined naval forces of France and Castile. A new 
and larger force was prepared in 1373 under John of Gaunt, 
but in consequence of this maritime disaster it was necessary 
to land the troops at Calais. Thence John of Gaunt marched 
right across France, but he found no enemy to beat in the 
field, and he could not take a single fortress. Meanwhile his 
troops melted away through desertion, disease, and famine. 
A defeated army could hardly have been in a more lament- 

96 European History \ 1273- 1494 

able condition than that of which a scanty and impoverished 
remnant succeeded in reaching Bordeaux. The failure of 
this great effort on the part of England was decisive. Already 
several provinces had been practically lost, and by 1374, of 
all the vast possessions which had been gained at Bretigni, 
there remained only Calais in the north, and the strip of land 
stretching from Bordeaux to Bayonne. In 1375 the Pope 
succeeded in negotiating a truce for two years, and before its 
expiry both the Black Prince and Edward in. had died, and 
England, bitterly chagrined at such complete and unexpected 
disasters, had passed under the rule of a child. 

In 1378 hostilities were resumed, though the English 
wished to prolong the truce, and it seemed almost inevitable 
Last years of that Charles v. would complete his task of expel- 
Charies v. i m g t h e foreigner from French soil. The English 
had no longer any allies in France. John de Montfort, who 
had clung to his old protectors ever since the outbreak of 
war in 1369, had been expelled from Brittany, which was now 
almost wholly occupied by royal troops. Charles of Navarre, 
who had been a traitor to both sides in turn, discovered his 
mistake in allowing the English power to be so completely 
depressed, and opened negotiations with John of Gaunt for a 
joint effort to recover the lost provinces. But between France 
and Castile the King of Navarre found himself powerless. 
The royal troops seized the strong places which he possessed 
in France, while the Castilians entered Navarre and laid siege 
to Pampeluna. Charles the Bad was deserted even by his 
own son, and was forced to make a humiliating peace in 1378. 
If the French forces had now been concentrated on the 
reduction of Bordeaux and Bayonne, and if the Castilian 
fleet had been employed to cut off reinforcements by sea, the 
English must have lost their last strongholds in Aquitaine. 
But Charles v. was tempted by his successes to undertake a 
more ambitious project — the annexation of the duchy of 
Brittany to the royal domain. Such a plan at once raised 
the whole of Brittany against him. The supporters of the 

France under the Early Valois 97 

House of Blois, who had fought for the king against de 
Montfort, were resolute to defend the independence of their 
province. The great soldiers of France, Bertrand du Guesclin 
and Olivier de Clisson, were Bretons by birth, and though 
they obeyed the royal orders, their action in Brittany was 
reluctant and inefficient. The rebellion was wholly success- 
ful ; John de Montfort was restored to his duchy, and was 
even welcomed by the widowed Countess of Blois, who had 
so long championed the cause of her husband against him. 
This failure in Brittany was a bitter disappointment to 
Charles v., and his chagrin was increased by the death of 
Bertrand du Guesclin. The king himself did not long sur- 
vive his most brilliant and faithful servant, and at the time 
of his death (September 16, 1380), the English still possessed 
a foothold in the north and south of France, which enabled 
them to make disastrous use of the disorders of the next 




Disputed election to the Empire-^-Quarrel between Lewis iv. and John xxn. 
— The Franciscans and the Pope — The Heresy of the Beatific Vision- 
National feeling in Germany — Causes of the failure of Lewis as Emperor 
— The Expedition of the Emperor to Italy — Lewis supports the Anti- 
Pope — His retirement from Italy — His position in 1338 — The Succession 
question in the Tyrol— Election of Charles iv. — Death of Lewis. 

The death of the Emperor Henry vn. (13 13) gave occasion for 
one of those disputed elections which were almost inevitable as 
Disputed l° n S as tnere was no central power strong enough 
election in to control German factions, and as long as the 
mpire. ru i es or cus t m of election were uncertain and ill - 
defined. The Hapsburgs eagerly grasped at the opportunity 
of recovering the power they had lost by the death of Albert 1. 
Their opponents, headed as before by Baldwin of Trier, 
passed over John of Bohemia on account of his youth, 
and put forward as their candidate Lewis, Duke of Upper 
Bavaria. The rival forces were not ill-balanced. On October 
19, 1 3 14, Frederick the Handsome, son of Albert I., was 
chosen at Sachsenhausen by the Archbishop of Koln, Henry 
of Carinthia, still claiming the crown of Bohemia (see p. 18), 
the Elector Palatine, and the Duke of Saxe-Wittenberg. On 
the following day five electors — the Archbishops of Mainz and 
Trier, John of Bohemia, Margrave Waldemar of Brandenburg, 
and the Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg — gave their votes at Frank- 
furt in favour of Lewis the Bavarian. Thus two votes — those 
of Saxony and Bohemia — were cast by rival claimants upon 
both sides. On November 25, a double coronation took 

Lewis the Bavarian and the Avignon Popes 99 

place : Frederick being crowned at Bonn, and Lewis at 
Aachen. The dispute could only be settled by arms ; and 
a desultory war, lasting for seven years, was closed in 1322 
by the battle of Miihldorf, where the capture of his rival 
seemed to secure the final victory of Lewis. 

But the very completeness of Lewis's triumph only served 
to provoke a far more formidable enemy than the Hapsburg 
duke. As long as the war lasted in Germany, the Pope 
had been content to pursue his policy of strengthening the 
Guelf party in Italy, confident that his Ghibelline oppo- 
nents could receive no assistance from beyond the Alps. 
Clement v., on hearing of the death of Henry vn., had seized 
the opportunity to claim the administration, and to grant the 
office of imperial vicar during the vacancy to his patron and 
ally, Robert of Naples. John xxn., who succeeded Clement 
in 131 6, after an interregnum of over two years, continued 
his predecessor's policy. But Robert of Naples could only 
just hold his own against the Visconti and other Ghibelline 
leaders; and the battle of Miihldorf seemed likely to 
turn the scale decisively against the Guelfs. In his parti- 
sanship for the Angevin cause, John xxn. deter- 

, , , . ,. , Quarrel of 

mined to revive the most extreme claims of the Lewis iv. 
mediaeval Papacy. On the pretext that he had and J°hn 
the right to decide the disputed election, and that 
neither claimant could assume the imperial office without 
his sanction, he called upon Lewis to plead his cause before 
the Roman Curia (1323), and, when he failed to appear, 
pronounced him contumacious and finally proceeded to issue 
a bull of excommunication against him. Thus commenced 
a struggle between the Empire and Papacy which was con- 
tinued under the pontificates of Benedict xn. (1 334-1 342) 
and Clement. vi., and was hardly terminated by the death of 
Lewis in 1347. 

In many ways this struggle looks like a revival of past 
struggles between Emperors and Popes, and to raise the old 
questions as to the relations of Church and State. But if it 

ioo European History, 1273- 1494 

is examined a little closer, it will be found to differ in several 
important respects from its predecessors, and to present 
Peculiarities peculiar characteristics of its own. In the first 
of the quarrel. pi ace> the dispute arises from more petty causes, 
and the combatants are of lesser mould than the protagonists 
of earlier times. There is no Hildebrand or Innocent in. 
among the Avignon Popes, and Lewis the Bavarian lacks 
both the courage and the imposing personality of Frederick 
Barbarossa or Frederick 11. The pretensions of the rival 
powers are less far-reaching and exalted ; and if at times we 
find the language of the past reproduced in the papal bulls, 
it sounds unreal and almost ridiculous. No more con- 
clusive illustration of the decline of both Papacy and Empire 
can be presented than the impression of unreality and insig- 
nificance produced on the mind by the records of this long 
and obstinate contest. 

Yet it is hardly probable that this impression was shared 
by contemporary spectators. To them the struggle must 
have seemed to involve questions of vital importance. No 
previous contest between the rival heads of Christendom 
had produced so much literature, or literature of such 
merit and significance. Michael of Cesena, the general 
of the Franciscan Order, John of Jandun, and William 
of Ockham, 'The Invincible Doctor,' exhausted the subtleties 
of the scholastic philosophy in their championship of the 
imperial position against papal pretensions. Above all, 
Marsiglio of Padua, in his great work the Defensor Pads, 
examined with equal acuteness and insight the fundamental 
relations of the spiritual and secular powers, and laid down 
principles which were destined to find at any rate partial 
expression in the Reformation. 1 

This outburst of literary and philosophical activity was 
due in great part to the fact that for the first time in the 

1 See on this subject Riezler, Die Literarischen Widersacher der 
Pdpste tur Zeit Ludwigs des Baiers, and Creighton, History of the Papacy 
during the Reformation, i. pp. 35-41. 

Lewis the Bavarian and the Avignon Popes 10 1 

long strife between Papacy and Empire, the struggle involved 
doctrinal differences. Hitherto the contest had been between 
Church and State, and the Church had been for the most 
part united. But, on the present occasion, the Church was 
profoundly divided. The great Franciscan Order had been 
founded by the professed advocate of clerical The Francis . 
poverty. In course of time this original principle cans and the 
had been departed from, and the Order had ope " 
amassed considerable wealth, though it had been found desir- 
able to conceal the change by making the Pope the trustee, 
and giving the Order the mere usufruct of its property. This 
lapse from the strictness of the original rules had given rise 
to a schism within the Order. The Spiritual Franciscans, 
or Fraticelli, maintained that Christ and the Apostles held 
no individual or corporate property, and that the Church was 
bound to copy the examples of its founders. This doctrine, 
which was accepted by a chapter of the Order in 1322, 
was not likely to find favour with a Pope who was accused, 
with good reason, of avarice. John xxn., urged on by the 
Dominicans, denounced the doctrine as heretical, and 
thereby alienated the Franciscans, who could plead in theii 
favour a bull of Nicolas in., and appealed from the authority 
of the Pope to a General Council of the Church. In common 
hostility to John xxn., the Franciscans espoused the cause 
of Lewis the Bavarian, and it was among them that he 
found his most enthusiastic champions, and his most influen- 
tial advisers. 

This antagonism of a section of the Church to its own 
head seemed likely to be increased in John xxn.' later 
years, when he was induced to favour the Heres of 
dogma that the dead are not admitted to the the Beatific 
divine presence until after the final day of judg- Vlslon * 
ment. This contention struck at the root of the prevalent 
custom of invoking the mediation of the saints, and provoked 
a storm of opposition throughout Europe. Even the French 
king threatened to abandon the cause of so heterodox a Pope, 

(02 European History, 1273- 1494 

ind on his death-bed John found it prudent or necessary to 
retract his too hasty opinion. 

It is obvious that these doctrinal disputes weakened the 
Papacy, and so far tended to give the Emperor an advantage. 
But this gain to Lewis was as nothing compared with the 
strength which he derived from the most noteworthy peculiar- 
ity of the struggle. In all previous contests with the Empire, 
the Popes had been able to command the services of an anti- 
imperial party within Germany, and this party had included 
not only the great ecclesiastics, but many of the lay princes. 
But in the great critical moments of the struggle with Lewis, 
National tn * s was f° un d to De impossible. For the first 
sentiment time in history the German ruler found himself 
ermany. backed U p ^y a v ig 0rous national sentiment 
among his subjects, a sentiment quite as strong as that which 
had supported Philip iv. of France against Boniface vm. 
The primary cause of this unwonted union among German 
princes and people was undoubtedly the residence at Avi- 
gnon and the subservience of the Popes to France. The 
national revolt against a spiritual authority which allowed 
itself to become the tool of a hostile state, led in England to 
the issue of the great statutes of Provisors and Praemunire, 
and found equally resolute expression in Germany in the 
famous decrees of 1338. Benedict xn., more moderate and 
placable than his predecessor, had been on the verge of a 
reconciliation with the Emperor, but was actually forbidden 
to put an end to the quarrel by the imperious Philip vi. 
This open dictation on the part of the French king drove 
the Germans to fury. In July, 1338, all the electors with 
the exception of the King of Bohemia met at Rense on the 
Rhine, and formally resolved that the imperial authority 
proceeds directly from God, and that the prince who is 
legally chosen by the electors becomes king and emperor 
without any further ceremony or confirmation. This meeting 
is noteworthy in the constitutional history of Germany as 
the first occasion on which the electors assumed corporate 

Lewis the Bavarian and the Avignon Popes 103 

functions other than the filling of a vacancy in the throne. 
In the following month, a numerously attended diet at 
Frankfort endorsed the declaration of Rense, and proceeded 
to draw up laws which should strengthen the central power. 
The punishment of death is decreed against all breakers of 
the public peace : the feudal tenant who takes arms against 
his imperial overlord is declared to forfeit both life and 
property : whoever refuses to take up arms at the summons 
of the Emperor is pronounced guilty of felony. The decrees 
of Frankfort seemed to promise a revival of the German 

In spite of all these advantages on the side of the Emperor, 
the quarrel ended, not exactly in a papal triumph, yet in the 
complete and humiliating discomfiture of Lewis, causes of 
Doubtless the personal character of the Emperor Lewis ' 8failure - 
contributed essentially to this result. Lewis was well-meaning 
but vacillating : he could take strenuous measures under the 
influence of a stronger will, but when he lost his adviser his 
habitual irresolution and his superstitious dread of the terrors 
of excommunication returned upon him. To carry through 
the contest he required the firmness, the intellectual craft, 
and the want of reverence of a Philip the Fair j and he had 
none of these qualities. On more than one critical occasion, 
when success seemed within his grasp, he alienated and dis- 
gusted his supporters by grovelling offers to purchase absolu- 
tion by surrendering all the principles which were at stake in 
the quarrel. Moreover, the doctrinal disputes in which he 
became involved, although a source of weakness to the Pope, 
were not an equal source of strength to the Emperor. The 
Franciscans had many powerful opponents, especially in the 
great rival Order of St. Dominic, and these were alienated 
from the Emperor by his alliance with a faction in the 
Church. The Franciscan cause rested upon an unpractical 
enthusiasm wnich could not command the lasting support of 
the clergy, accustomed as they were to wealth and to the 
influence which it confers. And in the end, the strong 

104 European History \ 1273- 1494 

corporate spirit of the Church was inevitably aroused and 
alienated by the spectacle of a secular ruler interfering in 
questions of dogma, and claiming a right of interpretation 
and decision. 

There was, too, in the Emperor's position a fundamental 
weakness which, unless detected and remedied, was inevitably 
fatal to his success. Neither Lewis nor the Franciscan 
advisers who in the early years of the struggle dictated his 
conduct, could realise that the conditions of the Middle 
Ages were passing away. They could not see that the old 
imperial pretensions were obsolete ; that intervention in Italy 
had always brought ruin to German kings ; that even in Italy 
the Guelfs had the stronger, because the less anti-national, 
position ; and that the Ghibellines, the professed champions 
of imperial ascendency, only pursued this policy for their own 
ends, and had no real desire to weaken their independence 
by the foundation of a strong Italian monarchy. Lewis had 
an almost unique opportunity of building up such a monarchy 
in Germany, not on the lines of the mediaeval Empire, but on 
the basis of the newly awakened national sentiment and 
sympathy. This opportunity he threw away because he had 
no conception of the conditions under which alone such 
success could be attained. Instead of endeavouring to rule 
as an Edward 1. or a Philip iv., he set himself to imitate the 
Ottos of the tenth century. 

In 1325 Germany was astounded by the news that Lewis 
had been formally reconciled with his imprisoned rival. It 
is true that the treaty was not carried out, and Frederick, 
unable to fulfil his promises in face of the opposition of his 
brothers, returned to captivity. But in the following year the 
death of Leopold, the most resolute and active of the Haps- 
burg princes, removed all danger to Lewis from this quarter, 
and enabled him to follow the advice of his Franciscan 
Lewis in counsellors and to take aggressive measures 
Italy. against the Pope. In 1327 the Emperor appeared 

at Trent, where he was welcomed by the Ghibelline leaders, 

Lewis the Bavarian and the Avignon Popes 105 

eager to have his assistance against Robert of Naples. At 
Milan he received the iron crown of Lombardy, and thence, 
accompanied by Castruccio Castracani, Lord of Lucca, he set 
out for Rome. The Guelf cause seemed to be ruined in 
northern and central Italy, and the partisans of the Pope and 
Naples fled from the city. In January, 1328, Lewis was 
crowned Emperor by two bishops, whose chief qualification 
was that they shared with their patron the penalties of ex- 
communication. Three months were spent in planning 
further proceedings, and in April John xxn. was for- 
mally declared uncanonically elected and guilty of heresy. 
In May, Peter di Corvara, a Franciscan friar, nominated 
by the Emperor and accepted by the acclamations of the 
citizens, assumed the papal title as Nicolas v. 

This initiation of a schism in the interests of the Franciscan 
party marks the limit of the Emperor's success in Italy. He 
had committed himself to an enterprise which he had neither 
the moral nor the material force to carry through. His 
immediate enemy, Robert of Naples, had not yet been even 
attacked. When the imperial troops advanced southwards in 
June, they were speedily compelled to retreat, and Lewis 
thought it advisable to evacuate Rome and retire to the 
Ghibelline strongholds in the north. The Emperor was 
accompanied by his Antipope, and the Roman populace, with 
characteristic inconstancy, expelled the imperial partisans 
and opened their gates to the Orsini and the Neapolitan 
troops. To make matters worse, death carried off two of 
Lewis's chief advisers, Castruccio Castracani and Marsiglio of/ 
Padua. From this time his career in Italy was one long 
catalogue of blunders, and he eagerly seized the excuse for 
returning to Germany on the news of the death of his former 
rival, Frederick the Handsome (January, 1330). The unfor- 
tunate Nicolas v., deserted by his patron, was compelled to 
resign his dignity and to make the most humiliating sub- 
mission to John xxn. He ended his life a prisoner in the 
palace of Avignon. 

106 European History \ 1273- 1494 

After such a complete and disastrous failure it might have 
been thought that the cause of Lewis was ruined, and that he 
too would have to submit to the triumphant Pope. But the 
open alliance of the Papacy with France, and the consequent 
alienation of Germany, enabled him to recover much of the 
Position of lost ground, and by 1338 his position appeared 
Lewis in 1338. t be firmer than ever. At the head of a 
national movement, which had expressed its sentiments un- 
mistakably in the decrees of Rense and Frankfort, and 
closely allied with Edward in. of England, who was now 
committed to his great war with France, Lewis seemed 
able to dictate his own terms both to Benedict xn. and 
Philip vi. 

But Lewis was as incapable as ever of pursuing a resolute 
and consistent course of policv, and at the very moment 
when success seemed assured he began to vacillate and draw 
back. In 1340 he suddenly abandoned the English alliance 
and made terms with Philip vi., in the hope that the French 
king would use his influence to secure for him the papal 
absolution. Philip, delighted to be freed from a very press- 
ing danger, did endeavour to intercede with the Pope, but 
even the gentle Benedict fired up at this attempt to com- 
mand what the king had previously forbidden ; and the Pope 
died in April 1342, without having granted the Emperor the 
pardon for which he craved. The Germans were naturally 
disgusted by Lewis's pusillanimity, but this feeling was as 
nothing compared to the storm of indignation excited by the 
Emperor's conduct in the question of Tyrol. The final 
cause of Lewis's failure is to be found in his reckless pursuit 
of that policy of family aggrandisement which had been 
almost forced upon the holders of the imperial dignity since 
the Great Interregnum. In his insatiable greed for territory, 
he did not hesitate to alienate the chief German princes at a 
time when their support was absolutely indispensable. 

In 1335 Henry, Duke of Carinthia and Count of Tyrol, 
had died leaving an only daughter, Margaret Maultasch, who 

Lewis the Bavarian and the Avignon Popes 1 07 

was married to John Henry of Moravia, a son of King John 
of Bohemia. The claim of Margaret to succeed to her 
father's territories was contested by the dukes of Austria, 
whose father, Albert L, had married the sister of Henry of 
Carinthia. The struggle for the succession between the 
Houses of Hapsburg and Luxemburg ended in a partition, 
the Hapsburg dukes taking Carinthia, while succession 
Tyrol was ceded to their niece Margaret. But question in 
the marriage relations of Margaret and John yro ' 
Henry proved extremely inharmonious, and in 1341 the 
former discarded her husband and threw herself upon the 
protection of the Emperor. The temptation to acquire a 
new province for his House was more than Lewis could 
resist. He had already in 1323, on the death of Waldemar 
of Brandenburg, conferred the vacant provinces and electorate 
on his eldest son Lewis. On the death of his cousins, the 
sons of Henry of Lower Bavaria, he had seized their land 
and had thus united the whole of Bavaria under his own rule. 
To these acquisitions he would now add the county of 
Tyrol. In reckless defiance of ecclesiastical prejudice, he 
usurped rights which had hitherto been exercised by the 
Church. By solemn decree he granted Margaret a divorce 
from her husband, and a dispensation to marry his own son, 
Lewis of Brandenburg. 

The consequences of this reckless action might have been 
foreseen. The clergy were alienated by the assumption of 
clerical powers by a layman, while the lay princes, E1 . 
headed by John of Bohemia, were jealously Charles iv., 
indignant at such an addition to the already I346, 
immense possessions of the Bavarian House. The new Pope, 
Clement vi., found himself at last in a position to raise an 
anti-imperial party in Germany, and to bring about the elec- 
tion of a rival king. But for the fact that Philip vi. was now 
engaged in the war with England, Clement, who was a 
thorough Frenchman, would probably have used all his 
influence to secure the election of the French king. As it 

108 European History \ 1273- 1494 

was, it was natural to find a candidate in the House of 
Luxemburg, which had most cause for exasperation with 
Lewis, and was also closely allied with France. John of 
Bohemia himself was disqualified by blindness, having lost 
his eyesight in a campaign against the heathen Wends of 
Prussia, but his eldest son, Charles, was put forward in his 
place. The only electors who supported Lewis were his own 
son, Lewis of Brandenburg, and the Archbishop of Mainz, 
Henry of Virneburg. The Pope, to secure another vote, 
deposed the archbishop, and awarded his see to Gerlach of 
Nassau. On June 11, 1346, the three Archbishops, with John 
of Bohemia and Rudolf of Saxony, formally elected Charles 
as king of the Romans. With characteristic quixotism the 
blind king, instead of asserting his son's title with arms, 
hurried the new king off to France to aid his ally, Philip vi. 
On the field of Crecy John of Bohemia fell in heroic despair, 
but Charles iv., whose share in the battle is wrapped in some 
obscurity, escaped to Germany to maintain his title. 

Meanwhile Lewis had made the last great addition to the 
territories of his family. His second wife, Margaret, was a 
Death of sister of William iv. of Holland and Hainault, and 
Lewis, 1347. on the death of that prince in 1345 his possessions 
fell to William v., a son of Lewis by this second marriage. 
The House of Wittelsbach seemed for the moment so powerful 
that it need fear no rival, and the injudicious absence of the 
Luxemburg princes had enabled Lewis to strengthen himself 
still further by an alliance with Albert of Austria. Charles 
found his position almost hopeless. An attack upon Tyrol 
was repulsed, and he was forced to retire to Bohemia. Lewis, 
confident of an easy triumph, left the prosecution of the 
campaign to the Margrave of Brandenburg and returned to 
Bavaria, where he died suddenly on October n, 1347, while 
engaged in a boar-hunt near Munich. 



Charles IV. secures the German Crown — His rule in Bohemia — His coronation 
in Italy — Difficulties in Germany — The Golden Bull — The Papacy and 
ihe Golden Bull— The results of the Golden Bull— The intentions of 
Charles IV.— The Territorial Policy of Charles iv.— The Successio 
question in Upper Bavaria— The election and coronation of Wenzel — 
The Swabian League— The Great Schism— Death of Charles iv.— Parti- 
tion of the Luxemburg territories. 

When Charles iv. returned from the campaign in France, 
which had cost his father's life, he seemed to have very little 
chance of gaining the imperial throne, to which Positionof 
he had been elected by the opponents of Lewis the Charles iv. 
Bavarian. It is true that Bohemia was rich in in 1347> 
mineral wealth, but in territorial power the House of Luxemburg 
was no match for the House of Wittelsbach, whose various 
members ruled over the Palatinate, the whole of Bavaria, the 
marks of Brandenburg, Tyrol, and the border districts of 
Hainault, Holland, Zeeland, Friesland, and Utrecht. The 
second son of Lewis, Stephen, was head of the powerful 
Swabian League, and the imperial towns were all on the side 
of the Bavarian Emperor. The electors who had given Charles 
their votes were not prepared to make any sacrifices in his 
cause, and Albert of Austria, the most powerful of the non- 
electoral princes, was committed to the cause of Lewis. The 
chief ally to whom Charles might have looked for support was 
the French king j but Philip vi. was fully occupied in the war 
with Edward in., and was thus unable to take any part in the 
affairs of Germany. 

And Charles had another great disadvantage in his relations 


HO European History \ 127 3- 1494 

to the Papacy. In return for the support of Clement vi. he 
had made very extreme concessions in a treaty arranged at 
Avignon in April 1346. He had admitted that the imperial 
coronation must follow confirmation of the election by the 
Pope ; he had promised that he would only go to Rome with 
the Pope's consent, and would only stay there a single day ; 
the Pope was to be arbiter in the disputes between the 
Empire and France. It is true that this treaty had not been 
published : and it is also true that Lewis had more than once 
offered even greater concessions as the price of absolution. 
Still, it was patent to all that Charles was the Papal candidate ; 
and the injudicious boast of Clement that he held the imperial 
throne in his gift was not likely to conciliate German princes 
and people who had so energetically protested against spiritual 
dictation from Avignon. The imperial cities refused to open 
their gates to the Pfaffen- Kaiset -, or 'parson's emperor,' as 
they called him in derision. 

While affairs were in this almost hopeless condition, three 

events occurred which greatly improved Charles's prospects. 

The first was the sudden death of his rival, Lewis 

secures the the Bavarian. Another was the outbreak in 

German j-^g f t h e Great Plague or Black Death, which 

crown. ,*? , , . r ,..,,. 

diverted mens attention from political disputes, 
and led them to look for the checking of anarchy and disorder 
to the prince who possessed at any rate the title of king. 
The third event was the appearance in Brandenburg of a 
pretender claiming to be Waldemar, the last margrave of the 
House of Ascania, who was supposed to have died in 13 19, 
when the electorate had been conferred upon the eldest son 
of the late Emperor. The 'false Waldemar,' as he is called, 
declared that he had never died, but had been driven by the 
stings of conscience to undertake a prolonged pilgrimage, 
from which he now returned to claim his rights. In order to 
weaken his Wittelsbach opponent, Charles gave his counten- 
ance to the pretender, who speedily secured a large part of 

Charles I V. and the Golden Bull 1 1 1 

It was an additional advantage to Charles that the party of 
the late Emperor had great difficulty in finding a successor to 
put in his place. In 1348 four electors — Henry of Virne- 
burg, who still held the see of Mainz in defiance of the papal 
authority, the Elector Palatine Rupert, Lewis of Branden- 
burg, and Eric of Saxe-Lauenburg, who claimed to exercise 
the electoral vote of Saxony — sent proxies to Ober-Lahnstein 
to proceed to a new election. The vacant crown was offered 
in the first place to Edward in. of England, who had in- 
directly rendered a service to the Bavarian party by prevent- 
ing French aid being sent to Charles iv. But Edward could 
neither neglect the French war nor face the resolute opposi- 
tion of the English Parliament. On his refusal, the crown 
was offered to Lewis of Brandenburg, who had enough to do 
to cope with the false Waldemar, and then to Frederick of 
Meissen, who declined to risk anything in a losing cause. 
At last, in despair, the electors chose Gunther of Schwartz- 
burg, a military leader of some reputation, but below the 
highest princely rank. Gunther, who had little to lose and 
everything to gain, accepted the proffered dignity, but he 
died in 1349, before he had time to test his ability to 
hold it. 

Charles iv. set himself, with rare diplomatic ability, to 
make the most of his own advantages and of the difficulties 
of his opponents. The imperial cities, discontented by the 
death of their patron, Lewis the Bavarian, and involved in 
difficulties and disorders by the Plague, were gained over by 
the concession of privileges, and one by one opened their 
gates to Charles. Albert of Austria was detached from the 
Wittelsbach alliance by a politic marriage between his eldest 
son Rudolf and Charles's second daughter Catharine. Charles, 
himself a widower, sued for the hand of a daughter of the 
Elector Palatine, and thus gained to his side the head of the 
House of Wittelsbach. Finally, by disowning the cause of 
the false Waldemar, he achieved the reconciliation of his 
most resolute opponent, Lewis of Brandenburg. The death 

112 European History \ 1 27 3 - 1 494 

of Gunther of Schwartzburg removed all difficulties in the 
way of Charles's recognition, and by 1350 his title was 
acknowledged throughout the whole of Germany. 

Charles iv. is incontestably the greatest ruler whom Europe 
produced in the fourteenth century, yet his merits have met 
Character of with singularly little appreciation except from 
Charles iv. Bohemian historians. To most English readers 
ne is chiefly known from the saying of Maximilian 1. that he 
was ' the father of Bohemia but the stepfather of the EmDire,' 
or by the more recent epigram of Lord Bryce who says that ' he 
legalised anarchy and called it a constitution.' Of the two 
sayings, the latter is by far the more unjust and ill-founded. 
Charles is a unique figure in the family of Luxemburg which 
rose to such sudden and short-lived eminence in the four- 
teenth century. His grandfather, Henry vil, threw away his 
life in a chimerical effort to revive an imperial authority which 
was no longer either possible or desirable. His father, John 
of Bohemia, was the representative knight-errant of his time, 
perhaps the noblest type of fourteenth century chivalry — now 
crusading in Poland, now trying to found a new territorial 
power in Italy, and in the end deserting his own interests to 
fight and fall in the service of an ally. Of Charles's sons, the 
eldest, Wenzel, was a good-natured hedonist, who had few 
desires beyond the pleasures of the table; and the second, 
Sigismund, was a schemer who always imagined more than he 
could achieve. In the midst of this remarkable family, which 
can boast of three emperors and a king who twice narrowly 
missed election to the same dignity, Charles iv. stands in 
complete contrast both to his predecessors and his successors. 
He had none of the romantic enthusiasm of his father or his 
grandfather, but he had what was far better — a strong sense 
of the practical duties of government, and a strenuous business 
capacity which enabled him to carry them out. It is true 
that he failed to maintain the Ghibelline cause in Italy, but 
he preferred the more solid and substantial aim of building 
up a territorial monarchy in Germany. He was distinguished 

Charles IV. and the Golden Bull 113 

among contemporary monarchs for his preference of diplo- 
macy to force, for his strong legal sense, and his love of 
order. Like Edward I. of England and Philip iv. of France, 
he marks the transition from mediaeval to modern ideals and 
methods of government. 

The merits of Charles iv.'s government in Bohemia have 
never been contested. One of the first-fruits of his good 
understanding with Clement vi. was the procuring Bohemill 
of a papal bull to erect Prague into a metropolitan under 
see, whereas it had previously been dependent on Charles IV - 
the Archbishop of Mainz. In 1348, while his affairs in 
Germany were in their most critical condition, Charles laid 
the foundations of the University of Prague, with a constitu- 
tion modelled upon that of the University of Paris, where 
the king himself had studied. To Charles the Bohemian 
capital owes not only its university and its archbishopric, 
but also its fa: ious bridge over the Moldau, and many of its 
most notable buildings. Much of his attention was given to 
the promotion of commerce. Pie established a uniform 
coinage, provided for the protection of highways, and lowered 
the tolls upon roads and rivers. He projected a canal from 
the Moldau to the Danube, which was to carry through 
Bohemia the traffic between Venice and the Hanseatic 
League. Many of his measures were protective in the exireme. 
Every foreign trader who crossed the Bohemian frontier was 
compelled to expose his wares for sale in Prague; no foreigner 
could conclude a bargain except through a native merchant ; 
and all goods had to be sold by Bohemian weight and 
measure. Short-sighted as such regulations may appear in 
the present day, they were in accordance with the ideas of 
the time, and they were not unsuccessful in attaining their 
end. From German and Slavonic countries nobles, mer- 
chants, teachers and scholars flocked to the capital of 
Bohemia ; the members of the university were to be counted 
by thousands before Charles's death. 

Under this beneficent rule Prague promised to become the 

1 14 European History y 1 27 3-1494 

chief city of Germany, and the balance of power and of 
civilisation was transferred from the west to the east. 
Charles, undoubtedly, looked forward to securing for the 
House of Luxemburg a position almost exactly similar to that 
afterwards attained by the House of Hapsburg; and he 
trusted that his descendants would enjoy, as the Hapsburgs 
did in later times, an unbroken and quasi-hereditary succession 
to the imperial throne. And his more sanguine schemes did 
not stop at this point. He founded in Prague a cloister of 
Slavonic monks, collected from Bosnia, Servia, and Croatia, 
whose task was to draw closer the bonds between Bohemia 
and the eastern Slavs, and ultimately to pave the way for a 
union between the Latin and Greek Churches. If this 
dream had been fulfilled, the Luxemburg House might have 
founded a power greater than that of any Emperor, and 
Bohemia, which has always been a triangular wedge thrust 
from the east into the west, might have become a rivet 
between the two great divisions of the Continent. 

In 1354 Charles iv. set out for Italy to receive the 
Lombard crown at Milan, and the imperial crown in Rome. 
Charles iv. From the Ghibelline point of view his journey 
in Italy. was ignominious, but as throwing light upon 

Charles's policy it was of great significance. He refused to 
be drawn into the vortex of Italian politics, or to break his 
treaty with the Pope. To the representations of the Ghibel- 
line leaders, as to the eloquent appeals of Petrarch, Charles 
turned a deaf ear. He entered Rome to be crowned, 
paraded the streets in his imperial robes, and then retired 
outside the walls to San Lorenzo. With as little delay as 
possible, he hastened on his return journey. It was a 
deliberate renunciation of the claim of the mediaeval 
Emperors to rule in Italy. Charles saw clearly that Germany 
had been ruined by the attempts of its rulers to make their 
monarchy in Italy a practical force, and in the interests of 
Germany he refused to imitate the folly of his predecessors. 
His main object was the reconstruction of an orderly and 

Charles IV. and the Golden Bull 115 

efficient authority in Germany, and that object could only be 
achieved by resolutely cutting himself free from the entangle- 
ment of Italian ambitions. 

It was to the task of reform in Germany that Charles 
devoted himself immediately on his return to Germany, and 
his conferences with the diets at Niirnberg in Difficulties in 
1355 and 1356 resulted in the issue of the great Germany- 
enactment with which his name will always be connected — 
the Golden Bull. There were two great and pressing 
problems which required solution. One very obvious cause 
of recent disorders in Germany had been the disputed elections 
to the Empire, and these were intimately associated with the 
uncertainty as to the rules of election. It is true that 
tradition had decided that there should be seven electors, 
and that certain sees and certain families had claims to the 
right of voting. But the German practice of subdividing 
lands among male heirs had given rise to great uncertainty 
as to which member of a family should exercise this right. 
Thus the House of Wittelsbach was split into two main 
branches, the one holding the Palatinate of the Rhine, the 
other the duchy of Bavaria. By family agreement the 
Wittelsbach vote was to be given alternately by the heads of 
the two branches, but such an arrangement was certain to 
give rise to quarrels. In 13 14 the Saxon vote had been 
given on opposite sides by two rival claimants, and the same 
thing had taken place in the elections of 1346 and 1348. 
The prevention of similar disputes in the future was a 
primary condition of peace and order in Germany, and was 
one of the main objects of the Golden Bull. 

The second great and pressing difficulty in Germany was 
the danger of the complete disruption of all political unity. 
There were innumerable tenants-in-chief, electors, princes, 
knights and cities, held together by nothing but common 
allegiance to a monarchy which had lost all efficient authority 
If no remedy could be devised, Germany must become a 
mere geographical expression like Italy. The cities would 

1 1 6 European History \ 1273-1 494 

become independent republics, and desolating wars between 
them and their princely neighbours would lead to incurable 
anarchy. In that case, the border provinces must inevitably 
fall to the growing power of France. Lyons was already 
gone ; Dauphine* was practically lost. Provence and Franche- 
Comte\ though acknowledging imperial suzerainty, were 
subject to French influence and destined to fall, with the 
Netherlands, under the rule of a French dynasty. German 
ascendency would disappear, first in the valley of the Rhone 
and then in that of the Rhine. 

Charles iv. was fully alive to these dangers. He had 
accompanied his father to Italy in 1330, had acted for a 
time as his vicegerent, and had then acquired an insight into 
Italian politics which profoundly influenced his subsequent 
policy. It is hardly too much to say that his guiding motive 
was to preserve Germany from the fate which nominal sub- 
jection to imperial rule had brought upon Italy. And though 
he was connected by relationship, education, and past alliances 
with the Valois House of France, he was by no means blind 
to the dangers of French aggression in the west. It was in 
the vain hope of checking the constant falling away of border 
lands that in 1365 he went through the ceremony of being 
crowned King of Aries, disused by his predecessors since 
Frederick Barbarossa. 

On the subject of imperial elections, the provisions of the 
Golden Bull are clear and precise, and they remained a 
The Golden fundamental law until the Holy Roman Empire 
Bun, 1356. ended its shadowy existence in 1806. The 
number of electors is fixed at seven — viz. three ecclesiastics, 
the Archbishops of Mainz, Koln, and Trier, and four lay 
princes, the King of Bohemia, the Count Palatine of the 
Rhine, the Duke of Saxony, and the Margrave of Branden- 
burg. The three ecclesiastical electors are to be arch- 
chancellors of the three kingdoms : the Archbishop of 
Mainz in Germany, the Archbishop of Koln in Italy, and 
the Archbishop of Trier in Aries. The four secular electors 

Charles IV. and the Golden Bull 117 

are to hold the great household offices : the King of Bohemia 
is chief cup-bearer, the Count Palatine grand-seneschal, the 
Duke of Saxony grand-marshal, and the Margrave of Bran- 
denburg grand-chamberlain. The election of the Kings of 
the Romans and future Emperors is to be held in Frankfort, 
and decided by a majority of votes. The elected prince is 
to be crowned at Aachen, and to hold his first diet at Niirn- 
berg. The territories to which the electoral dignity is attached 
are never to be divided, and the succession is to be regulated 
by the rules of primogeniture among male agnates. During 
a minority, the electoral vote and the administration of the 
electoral provinces are to be intrusted to the nearest male 
relative on the father's side. The electors are to take rank 
before all other princes ; they are to have the royal rights of 
coining money and of final jurisdiction without appeal. All 
confederations of subjects without the leave of their territorial 
lord are prohibited, and the towns are forbidden to grant their 
citizenship to pfahlbiirger^ or burghers outside the walls, or to 
receive fugitive serfs to the shelter of their walls and franchises. 
There is one omission in the Golden Bull which is as signi- 
ficant and important as any of its direct provisions. The 
papal claims to confirm or veto an election, and The Pa 
to administer the Empire during a vacancy, were and the 
passed over in complete silence. The great Golden BuU - 
electoral resolutions of Rense were practically but silently 
erected into an imperial law, and the election of future 
Emperors was to be treated as a private affair of the German 
nation. Innocent vi. did not hesitate to show his displeasure at 
the promulgation of such a law by a prince who was regarded 
as the docile creature of the Holy See. But Charles iv. 
showed a firmness worthy of Edward 1. or of Philip the 
Fair. When the papal nuncio tried to levy a tenth of clerical 
revenues, Charles replied by demanding a reform of ecclesias- 
tical abuses and by threatening to confiscate Church property. 
The Pope was forced to give way, and to abandon his opposi- 
tion to the Golden Bull. 

1 1 8 European History, 1 27 3 - 1 494 

With regard to the practical results of the Golden Bull, 
historians are unanimous. It erected an aristocratic federation 
Results of the in Germany in place of the older monarchy, and 
Golden Bull. t ^ e German constitution never lost the impress 
which it received in the fourteenth century. The powers and 
privileges which the Bull conferred upon the electors were 
inconsistent with the exercise of efficient monarchical authority. 
And though the secular electors in 1356 were not, with the 
exception of Charles himself, very powerful princes, yet it 
was certain that the establishment of primogeniture and of 
indivisibility of territories would before long give . them a 
territorial power proportionate to their elevated rank. 

But historians have misjudged Charles iv., partly because 
they have fallen into the common error of confusing the 
Motives of results of the Golden Bull with the intentions 
Charles iv. f j ts au thor, and partly because they have paid 
insufficient attention to the precise circumstances of the time 
in which he lived. Charles was profoundly convinced — and 
it is difficult to maintain that he was wrong — that the mediaeval 
Empire was at an end, and that any attempt to revive it would 
result in the ruin of Germany. The forces which he most 
dreaded were the rising cities in the north and south, and 
the greater territorial princes, such as the Hapsburgs and 
the Bavarian Wittelsbachs. Both of these were weakened 
by the Golden Bull — the cities by its actual provisions, and 
the princes by their definite exclusion from the electoral vote, 
and by the virtual lowering of their rank which was effected 
by the elevation of the electors. It is true that the electors 
themselves received powers and privileges which might prove 
the foundation of independence, but at the same time their 
interests were enlisted on the side of unity. The Golden 
Bull gave them a grander position as joint rulers of Germany 
than they could look forward to as mere rulers in their own 
provinces. Thus it might reasonably be hoped that they 
would resist the further progress of that disruption which had 
already done so much harm to Germany. 

Charles IV. and the Golden Bull 119 

And while he provided this check upon growing disunion, 
Charles iv. had no desire or expectation that the state of 
things recognised and confirmed in the Golden Bull should 
be permanent. His intention was to obtain for the House of 
Luxemburg such an overwhelming territorial strength that 
he would secure to his successors a practically hereditary 
claim to the imperial office, and also such a predominance 
in the electoral college as would enable them to rule Germany 
through that body. By gradually adding province after pro- 
vince to the family domain, it might be possible in the end to 
build up a territorial monarchy like that which existed in 
England and was in process of construction in France. It 
is true that such a monarchy might be less imposing than 
the wide-reaching claims of imperial suzerainty, but it would 
be infinitely stronger and more advantageous to Germany. 
No single lifetime could be long enough to effect such a 
work, and Charles's direct heirs only lasted for a single genera- 
tion, and were themselves incapable of following in their 
father's footsteps. But such territorial power as was after- 
wards gained in Germany by the Hapsburgs was, for the most 
part, acquired by following the lines laid down by Charles iv., 
and in more than one way the Hapsburgs may be regarded 
as the heirs of the House of Luxemburg. 

It is this definite policy which gives to Charles's territorial 
ambitions an interest and a dignity which are lacking to the 
purely selfish and aimless acquisitiveness of his Territorial 
predecessor. In 1356 John, Duke of Brabant acquisitions 
and Limburg died, and his territories passed to ° 
his daughter and her husband Wenzel, Duke of Luxemburg, 
Charles's youngest brother. The Emperor supported his 
brother against the rival claims of the Count of Flanders, 
and obtained from the duchess and the estates of Brabant an 
agreement that, in default of heirs, the provinces should fall 
to the main line of Luxemburg. In 1363 occurred a very 
important crisis in the family relationships of Germany 
through the death of Meinhard, the only son of Margaret 

120 European History ', 1273- 1494 

Maultasch and of Lewis of Bavaria, the eldest son of the late 
Emperor (see p. 107). Meinhard's death left vacant both Tyrol 
and the duchy of Upper Bavaria. The Hapsburg claim to Tyrol, 
which had failed in 1335, was promptly renewed by Rudolf 
of Austria. Rudolf was one of the princes who were most 
indignant at the increased rank given to the electors by the 
Golden Bull, and he had shown his irritation by assuming 
the title of 'archduke,' which in the next century was per- 
manently adopted by the House of Hapsburg. Charles iv. 
seized the opportunity to gain over so powerful a malcontent. 
He confirmed Rudolf in possession of Tyrol, and at the same 
time concluded with him a treaty of mutual inheritance by 
which, on the extinction of either House, the other was to 
inherit all its lands. At the time, the House of Hapsburg 
seemed nearer to extinction than that of Luxemburg ; and, as 
a matter of fact, the treaty was never actually carried out. 
But it is not a little curious that within a century after the 
male line of Luxemburg had come to an end, almost all the 
territories which it held in 1364 had passed, in one way or 
another, into the hands of the Hapsburgs. 

Meanwhile a struggle had broken out as to the succession 
in Upper Bavaria. By a treaty made in 1349 between the 
sons of Lewis the Bavarian, that duchy ought now to have 
gone to Lewis the Roman and Otto, in whose favour their 
elder brother Lewis had renounced the possession of Bran- 
denburg. But the second brother, Stephen of Lower Bavaria, 
anticipated their claim and obtained his own recognition from 
the estates of Upper Bavaria. The two margraves applied 
for assistance to Charles iv., and promised him the succession 
to Brandenburg if they died without heirs. This agreement 
ultimately took effect in 1373, when Otto, the surviving mar- 
grave, was induced or compelled to cede Brandenburg to the 
Emperor, who pledged himself to the estates that the union 
of Brandenburg with Bohemia should be perpetual. Thus 
Charles acquired a second electoral vote and a very notable 
increase of his territorial power in northern Germany 

Charles IV. and the Golden Bull 12 1 

About the same time he betrothed his second son, Sigis- 
mund, to the daughter of Lewis the Great, King of Hungary 
and Poland, and thus opened a prospect of adding these 
states to the now enormous possessions of the Luxemburg 

These actual or prospective acquisitions could be of little 
permanent value unless Charles could secure to his House the 
continued occupation of the imperial office, and in Election of 
1374 he began to sound the electors on the subject Wenzei. 
of the election of his son Wenzei, a boy of fifteen years old. 
But there were many difficulties in the way. The Golden Bull 
made no provision for an election during the lifetime of any 
occupant of the throne. The spirit, if not the letter, of the law 
was against such a thing. There were also serious objections 
to the election of a minor, and many princes were jealous of 
the predominance already gained by the Luxemburgers. 
Charles, however, was not very scrupulous in such a critical 
matter, even about the observance of his own laws. He 
gained over the electors, but by the old objectionable method 
of bribing them. He did not hesitate to appeal for papal 
approval, thus reviving the pretensions which the Golden Bull 
had practically abrogated. But his policy was successful in 
its immediate aim. Wenzei was elected at Frankfort on 
June 16, and crowned at Aachen on July 6, 1376. 

The election of Wenzei as King of the Romans was the last 
triumph of Charles iv. His repressive attitude towards the 
cities had met with only partial success. The great northern 
Hansa had conducted a successful war against Waldemar m., 
one of the strongest of Danish kings, and in 1370 had forced 
him to conclude a humiliating treaty at Stralsund (see p. 437). 
And in 1376 a new danger arose in the south. The Swabian 
The Swabian towns were disgusted at the sacrifice League, 
of the last imperial domains in their province to purchase 
electoral votes. They renewed an old league under the 
leadership of Ulm, and refused to recognise WenzePs election. 
At Reutlingen (May 14, 1377) the forces of the league won 

122 European History, 1273- 1494 

a complete victory over their hated enemy, the Count of 
Wiirtemburg. This was followed by a rapid extension of the 
confederation, and Charles was too old and too weak to 
attempt its suppression. In August, 1378, he authorised his 
son Wenzel to conclude a peace between the towns and the 
princes, and to concede the right of union to the former. 
Thus one of the provisions of the Golden Bull was abandoned 
during Charles's own lifetime. 

Nor was this the only blow which Charles experienced in 
his later years. He had long struggled to put an end to the 
papal residence at Avignon, which was a scandal to Europe 
and a serious injury in many ways to German and imperial 
interests. He had succeeded in persuading Urban v. to 
return to Rome in 1367, and had himself visited the Pope in 
the Eternal City. But Urban was alienated by Charles's re- 
fusal to take active measures against the Ghibelline Visconti, 
and was easily induced by his French cardinals to return to 
Avignon. The whole work had to be begun again. At last, 
The Great in 1377, Gregory xi. was persuaded to quit the 
Schism. banks of the Rhone and to take up his residence 

in Rome. But he was meditating a second withdrawal from 
the city when he was overtaken by death. The new election 
had to take place in Rome, and the choice of the cardinals 
fell upon an Italian, Urban vi. This seemed for the moment 
a conspicuous triumph for Charles iv. But Urban's violence 
alienated the French cardinals, who seceded from Rome and 
elected a rival Pope, Clement vn. Clement naturally threw 
himself upon French support, and fixed his residence at Avi- 
gnon. Thus the return to Rome, instead of putting an end to 
scandal, gave rise to the famous schism in the Church which 
lasted for forty years. Charles iv. was bitterly chagrined, and 
appealed to all the European princes to recognise Urban and 
to resist the excessive and dictatorial power of France. And 
there was some reasonable ground for such an appeal. A 
brother of Charles v. of France was Duke of Burgundy, and the 
Duke's wife was the heiress of Flanders, Artois, and Franche 

Charles IV. and the Golden Bull 123 

Comte\ Another brother claimed the succession in Naples, and 
the King of Hungary and Poland was a member of the older 
House of Anjou. The prince who was naturally expected to 
resist this threatening danger to the balance of states was 
Charles iv., who might have found it necessary to lead an 
army against the French king and the Antipope. But on 
November 29, 1378, just two months after the Death of 
outbreak of the schism, death removed him from Charl e* IV. 
the scene of strife. 

Before his death, Charles iv.'s weakness for his children had 
led him into an act which was ruinous to his most cherished 
schemes. The Golden Bull had shown how Partitionof 
clearly he appreciated the advantages to a state of Luxemburg 
indivisibility and a strict rule of primogeniture. terrltones - 
These advantages he deliberately threw away in his own case. 
He even broke the solemn pledge which he had given never 
to separate the marks of Brandenburg from Bohemia. He left 
Bohemia and Silesia to his eldest son, Wenzel, while he trans- 
ferred Brandenburg to his second son, Sigismund, and formed 
a duchy in Lausitz for the third son, John of Gorlitz. Moravia 
was already in the hands of Jobst and Prokop, the sons of 
Charles's second brother, John Henry ; while Luxemburg was 
still held by the surviving brother, Wenzel, the husband of the 
Duchess of Brabant and Limburg. The family possessions 
had increased enormously since the days of Henry vn., but 
they were of comparatively little value when scattered among 
so many hands. The House of Luxemburg was never destined 
to hold the position imagined for it by the greatest ruler it 
produced, Charles iv. 



The origin of Swiss independence — The Hapsburgs in Swabia — The Forest 
Cantons— The League of 1291— Its Character— The Battle of Morgarten 
— Luzern joins the League— Zurich under Brun joins the League — 
Accession of Glarus — The League conquers Zug — Bern joins the League 
— The Eight Cantons— Continued danger from Austria — Rudolf I v. in 
Swabia— Leopold 11., his brother, renews the war with the Swiss — Battle 
of Sempach— Treaty of 1389. 

The Swiss Confederation has played a part in European 
history wholly out of proportion either to the area which it 
interest of covers, or to the population which it includes. It 
Swiss is placed in the midst of the western peoples of 

the Continent, on the border where the Romance 
and German elements touch each other at the most decisive 
political and strategic points. This geographical position has 
made the continuance of Switzerland an international ne es- 
sity. At the same time, Swiss history offers to the contempla- 
tion of the scientific historian the most perfect, as it has been 
the most durable, of federal constitutions. And this confedera- 
tion is the more unique and important because it shows how 
common interests and dangers can hold together communities, 
not only of different origin and institutions, but also of 
differing race and language. The story of its origin is one of 
the most fascinating episodes in the history of the fourteenth 

The beginnings of Swiss history have been obscured in two 
ways : by the poetical myths which have gradually grown up, 
and by the theories which have been spun in the imagination 

Rise of the Swiss Confederation 1 25 

of patriotic antiquaries. The myths as to the origin of Swiss 
independence have long enjoyed a world-wide fame, and 
't was reserved for the harsh criticism of the 

Legends as 

nineteenth century to show that they had no real t o origin of 
historical basis. The story of William Tell shoot- Swi « in - 
ing the apple on his child's head has been proved 
to be an ancient legend of the heroic sagas. The hoisting of 
the bailiffs hat in the market-place of \ltdorf is an addition 
of quite recent origin. No bailiff of the name of Gessler ever 
existed in the district ; and if there was a William Tell, which 
cannot be proved, he was of no political importance whatever. 
Even the more probable and important story of Fiirst, Melch- 
thal, and Stauffacher, and of their oath on the field of Riitli, 
has also been ruthlessly demolished. If these men ever lived 
and did the deeds for which they are renowned, it must have 
been in some other place and in quite another relation. 

The antiquarian theories as to the origin of the Swiss people 
are quite as baseless as the legends, and not nearly so interest- 
ing. They have varied sometimes in their form, but their 
object has always been to show that the Forest Cantons, the 
earliest members of the league, had some special race origin 
and some peculiar independence, apart from the rest of 
Germany. They were founded, it is said, by settlers from 
Norway and Sweden, who left their homes for fear of losing 
their liberties, and swore to maintain them in a foreign land. 
All such stories are absolutely without foundation. Modern 
researches have proved, not only that the Forest Cantons were 
members of the Empire like their neighbours, but that various 
lords, spiritual and temporal, held different rights over them 
at various times. Their constant effort was to get rid of the 
authority of these feudal lords, and to vindicate a position of 
direct dependence upon the Empire alone. It was this effort 
which led to the first formation of a league. 

The Lake of Luzern, on the shores of which the original 
Swiss cantons are situated, lies within the limits of the old 
duchy of Swabia. The extinction of the line of dukes left a 

126 European History, 1273- 1494 

number of individuals and corporations in Swabia without 
any intermediate lord between them and the Emperor. But 
The Haps- as ^ e ^ m V eT ^ authority declined, and especially 
burgs in during the Great Interregnum, the chief families 
Swabia. j n Swabia set themselves to reduce their weaker 

neighbours to subjection. The most successful of these 
families was that of Hapsburg, whose original estates were in 
the district of Brugg, at the junction of the Aar and the Reuss. 
By the middle of the thirteenth century the family had vastly 
extended their possessions. In addition to their lands in the 
Aargau, they had large territories in the Breisgau and in 
Elsass. Rudolf in., born in 12 18, set himself to extend his 
power by every possible means — by war, negotiation, and 
purchase. His avowed object was to restore the territorial 
unity of Swabia under Hapsburg rule. And if the old duchy 
had been revived, it would have been difficult to entrust it to 
any other family. 

But against this aggressive policy was arrayed the desire for 
local independence, of which the most successful champions 
The Forest were the villages of Uri, Schwyz, and Unter- 
Cantons. walden. Uri had been granted in 853 by Lewis 
the German to the abbey of nuns in Zurich, but in 1231 the 
inhabitants had obtained from Frederick 11. an acknowledg- 
ment of their independence of any power except the Emperor. 
The other two cantons, without such explicit proofs, had 
claims which were generally acknowledged to a similar 
position. The endeavour to maintain this independence of 
direct rule must have brought the villagers into collision with 
their powerful neighbour, the Count of Hapsburg. For the 
moment the struggle was postponed by the news that 
Rudolf in. had been elected King of the Romans in 1273. 
Thus he obtained in his new capacity a suzerainty over the 
cantons, which they were prepared to deny him as Lord of 
Swabia. The contest must have seemed hopelessly unequal 
now that the Hapsburg Count could use his imperial authority 
to support his dynastic ambition. But Rudolf's attention 

Rise of the Swiss Confederation 127 

was diverted from local affairs by his struggle with Ottokar, 
by the acquisition of Austria, and by the establishment of his 
family in this new eastern possession. He never relinquished 
his original aims in Swabia, but he was no longer able to 
concentrate his attention on their achievement. The Haps- 
burg conquest of Austria was the first foundation of Swiss 

But the peasants by the Lake of Luzern showed a clear 
appreciation of the danger that threatened them. In August, 
1 29 1, immediately after the death of Rudolf, they The 0r iginai 
drew up the first league of which any record has League of 
been preserved. The document itself is worth xa91, 
quoting : — ' Know all men that we, the people of the valley of 
Uri, the community of the valley of Schwyz, and the moun- 
taineers of the lower valley, seeing the malice of the times, 
have solemnly agreed and bound ourselves by oath to aid and 
defend each other with all our might and main, with our 
lives and property, both within and without our boundaries, 
each at his own expense, against every enemy whatever who 
shall attempt to molest us, either singly or collectively. This 
is our ancient covenant. Whoever hath a lord let him obey 
him according to his bounden duty. We have decreed that 
we will accept no magistrate in our valleys who shall have 
obtained his office for a price, or who is not a native and 
resident among us. Every difference among us shall be 
decided by our wisest men ; and whoever shall reject their 
award shall be compelled by the other confederates. Who- 
ever shall wilfully commit a murder shall suffer death, and he 
who shall attempt to screen the murderer from justice shall 
be banished from our valleys. An incendiary shall lose his 
privileges as a free member of the community, and whoever 
harbours him shall make good the damage. Whoever robs 
or molests another shall make full restitution out of the 
property he possesses among us. Every one shall acknow- 
ledge the authority of a chief magistrate in either of the 
valleys. If internal quarrels arise, and one of the parties 

r 28 European History, 1 27 3- 1 494 

shall refuse fair satisfaction, the confederates shall support 
the other party. This covenant, for our common weal, shall, 
God willing, endure for ever.' 

It is obvious from this simple document that the league, at 
its first origin, is something more than a mere defensive 
character of alliance. It regulates to a certain extent the 
the League, punishment for crime, probably because endless 
confusion would arise if different penalties were enforced in 
each canton, and a criminal could fly from one to the other. 
At the same time, there is no complete federal government 
formed all at once. There is no mention of a joint assembly 
to consider matters of common interest ; nor is there any 
provision for a common taxation for federal purposes. Each 
canton is to carry on war at its own expense, and is to furnish, 
not a fixed contingent, but the whole male population capable 
of bearing arms. The league was not the work either of 
theorists or of experienced politicians, but was drawn up by 
three village communities in the face of present danger, and 
future difficulties were left to settle themselves. And the 
provision about obedience to a lord proves that the object of 
the league was to guard against oppression rather than to 
claim independence. But experience soon proved that inde- 
pendence was the only safeguard against oppression. 

Limited as its aims were, the league could hardly have 
maintained itself if Rudolfs eldest son Albert had succeeded 
The League his father on the imperial throne. And here we 
confirmed. m ay notice the good fortune that attended the 
infant confederacy. If the Hapsburgs had continued to be a 
mere Swabian family there is little doubt that they would 
have been successful in enforcing their immediate sovereignty. 
The election of Rudolf, and his acquisition of Austria, gave 
the cantons a breathing space in which they could agree upon 
joint action for their defence. The failure of the Hapsburgs 
to maintain the imperial dignity was another piece of luck for 
the allies. It gave them powerful allies and a pretext foi 
adhering to their claim of direct dependence upon the Empire. 

Rise of the Swiss Confederation 129 

They reaped an immediate advantage from the election of 
Adolf of Nassau on the death of Rudolf. Adolf, eager to 
weaken his rival, Albert of Austria, at once confirmed the 
league of 1291, and promised it imperial protection. But the 
fall of Adolf and the election of Albert again put the con- 
federates in a very dangerous position. It is to Albert's 
reign that the tyranny of bailiffs, like Gessler, is attributed. 
But these stories have no contemporary authority. Albert 
certainly appointed bailiffs by virtue of his imperial authority, 
but we have no record that he appointed aliens, or that his 
bailiffs were tyrannical. In fact, Albert, like his father, had 
his hands full with imperial affairs, and had no time to devote 
himself to his interests in Swabia. The league remained 
passive during his reign, and wisely gave him no pretext for 
hostile interference. Had Albert's son succeeded to the 
Empire, the Forest Cantons would probably have been gradu- 
ally absorbed in the Hapsburg dominions. But here again 
their good fortune came to their aid. After Albert's death 
the imperial crown was withheld from his House for several 
generations. The Luxemburg and Bavarian Emperors were 
for the most part hostile to the Austrian dukes, and were not 
unwilling to strengthen the opposition to them in Swabia. 

One of the first acts of Henry vn. was to grant to the 
league the most ample confirmation of their sole dependence 
upon the Empire and complete exemption from all foreign 
jurisdiction. In return for this they sent three hundred 
soldiers to accompany the Emperor on his Italian campaign — 
the first occasion on which Swiss troops served outside their 
own country. In the struggle between Lewis the Bavarian 
and Frederick of Austria the confederates naturally adopted 
the side of the former. Leopold, Frederick's brother, deter 
mined to punish the rebellious and audacious Battleof 
peasants, as he called them. There is a legendary Morgarten, 
account of the great battle between the opposing X3X5, 
forces ; but all that is known is that Leopold's men-at-arms 
allowed themselves to be attacked in a narrow valley at 


130 European History, 1273- 1494 

Morgarten, where they had no room for evolution, and the 
Swiss, having first thrown them into confusion by a shower of 
stones and other missiles, routed them at the first down-hill 
charge. This is the first of the great fights which showed the 
Swiss to be invincible on their own ground, and trained them 
to become for a time the finest infantry in Europe. The 
victory was celebrated by the formal renewal of the league at 
the village of Brunnen ; Lewis the Bavarian recognised the 
value of the service to his cause by confirming the edict of 
Henry vn. ; and by a treaty in 13 18 the Hapsburgs withdrew 
all claims to administrative authority within the limits of the 
Forest Cantons. The league was now a recognised and 
successful body to which its neighbours could look for aid in 
an emergency. 

The nearest, and for that reason the most important, of 
these neighbours was the town of Luzern, which had grown 
Luzern joins U P m tne territory and under the protection of the 
the League, abbey of Murbach. As the town grew in power 
I33 °' and wealth, the direct ownership of the abbey 

was broken off, but the monks retained in their hands the 
appointment of chief magistrate until it was purchased from 
them by Rudolf of Hapsburg. The buying up of similar 
rights was one of the chief methods by which he sought to 
extend his ascendency in Swabia. From that time Luzern 
had acknowledged some measure of subjection to the 
Hapsburgs, and had aided them with men and money in 
their struggle with Lewis the Bavarian. But the demands of 
their overlords became more and more onerous, and growing 
discontent seems to have impelled the citizens to seek the 
support of the neighbouring villages. On December 7, 1330, 
Luzern was formally admitted to the league, and this com- 
pleted the union of the four Forest Cantons. 

There was in this no express defiance of the Hapsburgs,. 
whose rights, jurisdiction, and feudal prerogatives were 
expressly reserved in the treaty, nor was any change made 
in the oligarchical government of Luzern. But in time it 

Rise of the Swiss Confederation 1 3 1 

was inevitable that the citizens should be influenced by 
the independence and the democratic constitution of their 
allies. The burgher nobles formed a conspiracy Revolution 
in 1343 to break off the compact with the three in Luxern - 
original cantons. The legend tells that the plot was over 
heard by a boy, who was discovered and pledged to secrecy. 
He kept the letter of his promise by telling the secret to 
a stove in a room where the butchers' guild was holding a 
meeting. The citizens were alarmed, and the conspirators 
arrested ; and the result was that not only did Luzern 
remain a member of the league, but a new executive council 
was created of 300 members, while the power of levying 
taxes, making war and concluding peace, was vested in the 
whole community. Thus the exclusive oligarchy was over- 

Two other cities, Zurich and Bern, though farther distant 
than Luzern, were destined to play a more prominent part 
in the history of the league. Zurich was in the fourteenth 
century a free imperial city, and owed no obedience to any 
intermediate lord. The government was a close Rudolf Brun 
oligarchy, as the council consisted of thirty-six in Zurich, 
members, all of whom belonged to the old burgher families. 
As long as their power remained unshaken, there was little 
likelihood of any close connection with the peasants of the 
original cantons. But Zurich, like so many other towns at 
the time, underwent a revolution. The artisans, organised in 
their own guilds, were stirred up to dispute the exclusive rule 
of the old burghers. The leader of the revolution was Rudolf 
Brun, one of the most remarkable demagogues of a century 
which produced Rienzi, Marcel, and the Arteveldes. Brun 
was himself a member of the ruling class, but sought to 
gratify his own ambition by turning against it. In 1336 the 
political change was accomplished. The members of the 
council were intimidated into flight, and a mass meeting 
decreed that the government should be reformed, and that 
in the meantime Brun should hold supreme power. Before 

1 3 2 European History ', 1 27 3 - 1 494 

long the new constitution was promulgated. Brun was 
appointed burgomaster for life with the assistance of a 
council of twenty-six. Thirteen of these were to be nominees 
of the burgomaster — six nobles and seven plebeians ; the other 
thirteen were the tribunes of the guilds. For the next fifteen 
years Rudolf Brun was practically despot in Zurich, but 
it was not until his authority was seriously threatened that 
he had any inducement to ally himself with such sturdy 
opponents of personal rule as the inhabitants of the Forest 

The undisguised despotism of Brun not unnaturally pro- 
voked a reaction in Zurich, and the members of the dis- 
• h -oins possessed oligarchy were encouraged to intrigue 
the League, for his overthrow. They found zealous supporters 
13511 among the nobles outside the walls, especially 

in John of Hapsburg, Count of Rapperschwyl, a cousin of 
the Austrian dukes. The story of the discovery of the plot 
is strangely reminiscent of the similar incident in the history 
of Luzern. A baker's boy overheard the incautious con- 
spirators, and informed his master. Brun was warned, and 
the rising was ruthlessly suppressed. All citizens suspected 
of disaffection were put to death, John of Hapsburg was 
imprisoned, and his town of Rapperschwyl was razed to the 
ground. But this act provoked the anger of the Austrian 
Hapsburgs, and to protect himself against their threatened 
vengeance, Brun found himself compelled to secure the 
alliance of the Forest Cantons. The agreement of May 2,1351, 
is of great importance, as showing a marked progress towards 
federation, and also because its provisions gave rise to many 
subsequent difficulties. ■ We, the cantons of Zurich, Luzern, 
Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden, do hereby enter into a firm 
and perpetual union : we engage to assist each other with our 
lives and fortunes against all who shall in any ways attempt 
to injure us in our honour, property, or freedom: this we 
bind ourselves to perform at all times and in all places 
within the Aar, the Thur, the Rhine, and Mount St. Gothard- 

Rise of the Swiss Confederation 133 

Whenever the council or community that calls for aid shall 
declare upon oath that the case is urgent, each canton shall, 
without evasion or delay, and at its own cost, send the de- 
manded aid. In great emergencies, such as a distant march 
or a long campaign, the cantons shall hold a congress at 
Einsiedeln and there deliberate on the measures to be pur- 
sued. We, the confederate cantons, solemnly reserve all the 
rights of the Holy Roman Empire and its sovereign, and 
each of us his previous alliances. Each canton may form 
new alliances, but not to the prejudice of the league. We 
will jointly preserve the burgomaster and the constitution of 
Zurich. Should {quod Deus avortat) any dissension arise 
between Zurich and the Forest Cantons, the city shall send 
two good and wise men, and the cantons two others, to 
Einsiedeln, and these four shall, on oath, decide the differ 
ence: if their votes are equal, they shall chose a fifth 
associate from any canton, and he shall give the casting vote.' 
The progress towards federalism is shown in the provisions 
for conference and arbitration ; while the diplomacy of Rudolf 
Brun is evident in the clauses by which a canton is enabled 
to form separate alliances, and the Forest Cantons are 
pledged to uphold the existing constitution of Zurich. 

Meanwhile Albert the Lame of Austria, the last survivor 
of the numerous sons of Albert I., 1 was arming to avenge the 
injury done to his kinsman and to vindicate Hapsburg rights 
in Swabia. In 1352 his troops advanced to the siege of 
Zurich, and the neighbouring towns and villages were called 
upon to send aid to the invaders. The people of Glarus, not 
far from Zurich, were dependent upon the abbey Accession of 
of Seckingen, and the administration was in the Glarus > J 352. 
hands of a steward appointed by the abbess. The Counts of 
Hapsburg had acquired, more than a century before, the 
position of advocate, or military champion, of the abbey, and 
this gave them a claim to the feudal service of the people of 
Glarus. But to the demands of Albert 11. they replied that 
1 See Genealogical Table C, in Appendix. 

134 European History, 1273- 1494 

they were only bound to serve in the interests of the abbey 
of Seckingen, and refused to fight in a private quarrel of the 
duke. Albert at once sent a body of troops to coerce 
Glarus, but the inhabitants obtained the assistance of the 
Forest Cantons and repulsed them. The result was the con- 
clusion of a permanent league between Glarus and its allies. 
The rights and revenues of both duke and abbess were 
expressly reserved in the treaty, and the people of Glarus 
promised to make no new alliances without the concurrence 
of the confederates. 

About the same time the league made its first conquest. 
Hitherto the various members had joined of their own 
conquest of accord ; but now the league took the offensive, 
Zug, 135a. an( j t0 secure their own safety compelled the 
little town of Zug to join them. Zug lies between Zurich 
and the Lake of Luzern, and was occupied by an Austrian 
garrison. The inhabitants of Schwyz marched to the walls 
and demanded its surrender, declaring that they had no 
intention to diminish the authority of the Duke of Austria or 
to change the constitution of Zug. As no aid came from 
Albert 11., the townsmen found it necessary to submit, and 
were formally admitted to the league. 

The expedition of Albert was thus a complete failure, and 
the campaign of 1352 was closed by a hollow treaty. All 
Treaty of prisoners were to be released, and all hostages 
1352- and plunder returned. Zug and Glarus were to 

pay the duke their accustomed allegiance. The confederates 
were pledged in the future to conclude no alliance with 
Austrian vassals : nor were Luzern and Zurich to admit such 
vassals to their citizenship. But all former alliances, im- 
munities, and established regulations were to remain in 
force. The terms were perhaps intentionally ambiguous. 
The Austrian duke contended that they involved the separa- 
tion of Zug and Glarus from the league, while the con- 
federates held that the last clause entitled them to maintain 
the alliance. But though the treaty itself was but a doubtful 

Rise of the Swiss Confederation 135 

gain, it was followed by a very great accession of strength 
to the league. A successful embassy was sent to invite the 
adhesion of the powerful city of Bern, and a Bern join8 
treaty was arranged at the beginning of 1353. the League, 
The direct alliance is made with the three original I353 ' 
cantons ; Zurich and Luzern being only indirectly involved, 
while Glarus and Zug are not mentioned at all. ' The Swiss 
of the three Forest Cantons shall be assisted by Bern, when- 
ever they shall be in need : and the cantons in return under- 
take to defend the city of Bern, its burghers, and all its 
property. . . . We, the Bernese, promise to assist Zurich and 
Luzern, when required by our Swiss confederates : we, of 
Zurich and Luzern, promise that whenever Bern shall be 
attacked and its council shall send to the Forest Cantons for 
aid, we will at our own expense immediately march to its 

The accession of Bern completes the number of the eight 
old cantons ; and the league had grown to these dimensions 
in just over sixty years, from 1291 to 1353. But The eight 
it is obvious that as yet there were little more old Cantons - 
than the elements of a federation. There was no central 
government, and no supreme court of justice. The allies 
stood on various and unequal terms with each other, 
and some were not connected at all. Bern was not 
directly ' allied with Zurich or Luzern, and not allied at all 
with Glarus and Zug. Glarus and Zug had no connection 
with each other, and the former had made more submissive 
terms than any other canton. Moreover, differences in 
constitution prevented the various members of the league 
from regarding political questions in the same light. Bern 
maintained its exclusive aristocracy, Zurich and Luzern had 
adopted a mixed constitution, while the three original cantons, 
with Zug and Glarus, were pure democracies, in which every 
adult male had a share in political power. 

If all danger from the Austrian dukes had come to an end 
in 1353, it is probable that this ill-cemented league would 

136 European History \ 1273- 1494 

have fallen to pieces. But as long as the Hapsburgs 
remained great landholders in Swabia, their weaker neigh- 
continued hours were in danger of absorption, and it was 
danger from this which ultimately hardened the league into 
Austria. a lasting federation. Albert 11. was resolute to 
enforce his interpretation of the treaty of 1352. In 1354 he 
demanded that Glarus and Zug should renounce their alliance 
with the other cantons. The league appealed to the 
Emperor, but Charles iv. was pledged to the policy of 
discountenancing such associations, and he gave his support 
to the Hapsburg claims. And Albert had another advantage 
in the self-seeking policy pursued by Rudolf Brun, who was 
still supreme in Zurich, and who was quite ready to make 
terms with Austria if he could thereby strengthen his own 
position. The influence of Zurich nearly induced the Forest 
Cantons to accept a treaty which would have involved a 
surrender of the most vital points at issue, and it was only at 
the last minute that the apparent treachery was discovered. 
The result was a coolness between Zurich and the con- 
federates, and the former went so far as to conclude a 
separate treaty with the Austrian duke. Fortunately Albert II. 
was too old and worn out to profit by this disunion, and just 
before his death he concluded a truce for eleven years with 
the league, leaving matters in statu quo for the time. 

Albert the Lame died in 1358 leaving behind him four 
sons, who were born after he had been married for nineteen 
Rudolf iv. in years without issue, and when the extinction of 
swabia. t h e m ain line of his House seemed imminent. 

Before his death he made an arrangement that his territories 
should pass undivided to the joint rule of his four sons. 
The second son, Frederick, died soon after his father, and 
the third son, Albert, preferred the study of philosophy to the 
cares of politics. The two active members of the family 
were the eldest son, Rudolf, and the youngest, Leopold. 
Rudolf married the daughter of Charles iv., quarrelled with 
his father-in-law about the elevation of the electors, and was 

Rise of the Swiss Confederation 137 

only reconciled on being allowed to annex the province of 
Tyrol (see p. 120). In his Swabian dominions he showed 
himself an active and capable ruler. He retained the support 
of Rudolf Brun, to whom he granted a pension and the title 
of privy councillor. He bought up the territory of Rapper- 
schwyl, thus thrusting in a wedge between the lake of Zurich 
and the Forest Cantons. On pretence of aiding the pilgrims 
to Einsiedeln, he built a magnificent wooden bridge over the 
lake, which was regarded by contemporaries as one of the 
wonders of the world. His real object was to get into his 
hands the control of the chief highway between Italy and 
Germany. His restless activity would certainly have brought 
him, sooner or later, into collision with the Swiss, but in the 
midst of his schemes he died suddenly in 1365, when he was 
only twenty-six years old. 

Of the two surviving brothers, Albert 111. and Leopold, the 
latter had been the confidant of Rudolf's ambitious schemes, 
and was eager to carry them out. With this Leopold it. 
object he induced his brother to revive the in Swabia - 
practice of partition, and to content himself with the duchy of 
Austria. Leopold received as his share Styria, Carinthia, 
Tyrol, and the Swabian lands. It was to Swabia that he 
devoted most of his attention. On every side he purchased 
territorial and other rights. His aim was that of his great- 
grandfather : the formation of a strong and united Swabian 
principality in Hapsburg hands. In the pursuit of such an 
aim he was inevitably brought into collision with the Swiss. 

One of Leopold's most conspicuous successes was the 
obtaining from Wenzel, the feeble successor of Charles iv., 
the office of imperial advocate in Upper and Lower Renewal 
Swabia. He soon found himself involved in grave ofwar - 
difficulties. To make head against the Swabian league of towns, 
the princes and knights were forced to form confederations 
among themselves. In such a state of things local collisions 
were frequent, and there seemed the possibility of a great war of 
classes. The Swiss naturally supported the Swabian League, 

138 European History \ 1273- 1494 

and Leopold, after a vain struggle to act as arbiter between 
the hostile forces, found himself forced by Swiss aggression to 
throw himself on the opposite side. The forces of the 
neighbouring nobles flocked to his banner at Baden in 
Aargau, and as the Swabian League failed to send any assist- 
ance to the Swiss, Leopold seemed to have good reason to 
expect a complete and easy victory. But the Swiss, who had 
defiantly broken the treaty of 1352, were conscious that the 
struggle was one for liberty or subjection, Rudolf Brun was 
dead, and Zurich had returned to complete harmony with the 
confederates. No effort was spared to collect forces, and the 
Battle of Swiss victory at Sempach, July 9, 1386, was even 
Sempach, more decisive, if more hardly won, than that of 
X386. Morgarten. Leopold himself, fighting with reck- 

less ardour to redeem the fortunes of the day, fell upon the 
field. His death virtually decided the war. It is true that the 
Swiss had to fight and win another battle at Nafels, before they 
could force their opponents to terms. But the treaty of 1389 
Treaty of was as complete as any Swiss patriot of those 
1389. d a y S could desire. The sons of Leopold re- 

nounced all feudal claims, direct or indirect, over Luzern, 
Glarus, or Zug. Thus within a hundred years from the 
formation of the league of 1291, the Swiss had succeeded in 
obtaining for the whole territory comprised in the extended 
confederacy that position of dependence upon the Empire 
alone, which had been the first aim of the Forest Cantons. 



Guelfs and Ghibellines — Equality of parties leads to foreign intervention- 
Lewis the Bavarian — John of Bohemia — League against Mastino della 
Scala — Walter de Brienne in Florence — Rise of mercenaries — Foreign and 
native Condottieri — Joanna 1. of Naples — Succession disputes in Naples — 
Rome and the Papal States — Career of Rienzi — Cardinal Albornoz 
recovers the Papal States — Return of the Popes to Rome and outbreak of 
the Great Schism — Strife of classes and families in Florence — Rising of 
the Ciotnpi — Revolution of 1382 and triumph of the oligarchy in Florence — 
Rivalry of Venice and Genoa — War of Chioggia — The Visconti in Milan 
—Successes of Gian Galeazzo Visconti — His death. 

The death of Henry vn. marks the failure of the last serious 
effort on the part of a German king to carry out the ideal of 
Dante's De Monarchia by establishing an efficient Guelfs and 
monarchy in Italy. A few years earlier the Ghibelline »- 
Papacy, which had. done more than any other power to 
thwart the imperial pretensions, had almost deliberately 
weakened its authority by transferring its residence to the 
banks of the Rhone. It seemed as if Italy might for a time 
be freed from the rivalry of the two claimants to universal rule, 
whose quarrel had done so much to cause discord and 
anarchy in the peninsula. But it is one of the numerous 
anomalies of Italian history that the factions of Guelfs and 
Ghibellines continue their feuds with the same vigour and 
animosity as in the days when each had a substantial cause 
to fight for. Yet beneath these feuds we can trace a growing 
undercurrent of political interests and of selfish aggrandise- 
ment, which gradually led to the absorption of the lesser 
states by their more powerful neighbours, and ultimately to 


140 European History, 1273- 1494 

the formation of the five greater powers whose rivalry fills the 
history of the next century. The example was set by Venice, 
Venetian whose geographical position removed her from 
policy. t k e ma j n current of party strife, while her interests 

were more strictly defined than those of any other state. In 
the east she had to maintain and extend her trade and her 
influence against the rivalry of Genoa ; and she had also to 
face the serious problems raised by the steady decline of 
the Eastern Empire and the constant aggressions of the 
Turks. In the west she had not yet acquired any territory 
on the mainland, but two pressing interests compelled her to 
keep a watchful eye on the politics of Lombardy. She could 
not with safety allow any continental power to obtain com- 
plete control of the Alpine passes through which Venetian 
merchandise found its way to the markets of Central Europe. 
Still less could she neglect the imperative need of securing 
supplies of food. Built upon the small islands of the lagoons, 
she could not possibly raise enough produce to feed her 
citizens, and was necessarily dependent upon importations 
from eastern Lombardy or Dalmatia. If a hostile power 
could cut off these supplies, Venice must be speedily starved 
into surrender. This double interest forced Venice to play 
a more prominent part in Italian politics than her isolated 
position seemed to warrant, and in the end impelled her to 
join in the scramble for territory on the mainland. 

With the exception of Venice, all the Italian states were 
more or less involved in the strife of factions. In the south 
Balance of Robert of Naples, relying upon Papal and French 
parties. support, still held the Guelf leadership, and still 

aimed, like his grandfather, at converting this leadership into 
a kingdom of Italy. But the Angevin power was no longer 
what it had been in the days of Charles 1. The Sicilian 
Vespers had given Sicily to a hostile dynasty, and the Popes 
in Avignon were less valuable allies than their predecessors 
in Rome. In the north lay the main strength of the Ghibel- 
line party. Despots, like Matteo Visconti in Milan and 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 141 

Cangrande della Scala in Verona, were rapidly overthrowing 
the republican independence of the Lombard cities, and these 
men had no legal basis for their authority save their appoint- 
ment as imperial vicars. Between Naples and Lombardy lay 
the Papal States and Tuscany. In the former, the Popes 
continued to employ what authority they could wield through 
their legates on the Guelf and Angevin side. But the decline 
of their direct authority led to the rise of petty despots in 
cities which were nominally papal fiefs, and these despots, 
desiring the maximum of independence for themselves, 
naturally leaned towards Ghibellinism. In Tuscany there 
was also a marked division. Florence was the head of a 
group of communes which retained republican institutions 
and were ardently Guelf in sympathy. But Pisa, also a 
republic, was equally resolute on the Ghibelline side. 

On the whole the two parties were so evenly matched in 
strength, that it was difficult for either to resist the temptation 
of trying to turn the balance in its own favour by Foreign inter . 
calling in foreign assistance. It is true that a vention in 
number of writers, including Sismondi, have re- ta y * 
presented the Guelfs as the national and the Ghibellines as 
the anti-national party. But this view involves both a mis- 
conception of the mediaeval empire, and also the anachronism 
of assuming a sense of nationality to exist in Italy at a time 
when no such idea was possible. The only sentiment which 
could vie with devotion to party was patriotism ; but patriotism 
beyond the bounds of his own city was as unknown to a 
citizen of Florence or Milan as it was to an Athenian or a 
Spartan in the days of Greek independence. Robert of 
Naples was as much a foreigner to a native of Lombardy 
or Tuscany as Lewis the Bavarian, and the king of France 
was much more so. As long as party spirit was the strongest 
force in Italy, we can trace a succession of appeals for foreign 
intervention : and when party spirit finally gave way to the 
rivalry of state with state, this intervention grew into conquest 
and occupation. 

142 European History, 1273- 1494 

Henry vn. in the last struggle before his death had clearly 
and correctly perceived that the key to the situation was in 
struggle in Tuscany, that if the Ghibelline cause could triumph 
Tuscany. j n tnat province the overthrow of the Guelfs might 
be confidently expected. And not long after his death the 
desired state of things seemed not unlikely to be realised. 
One of the most famous adventurers of the age, Castruccio 
Castracani, who had risen to prominence by his military 
ability, made himself lord of Lucca and there became a 
formidable neighbour to Florence. In 1325 he reduced the 
intermediate town of Pistoia, and defeated the Florentine 
forces at Altopascio. So terrified were the Florentines that 
they resolved to sacrifice their independence as the price of 
safety and the victory of their party. They offered the lord- 
ship of the city to Robert of Naples, who accepted it for his 
only son, Charles of Calabria. The progress of Castruccio 
was checked, and the appearance of Neapolitan forces in 
Tuscany impelled the Ghibelline leaders to call in the assist- 
Lewisthe ance °f Lewis of Bavaria {vide p. 104). Lewis 
Bavarian in entered Italy in 1327, but his coming brought 
Italy ' little real gain to his allies. In Milan he im- 

prisoned his host, Galeazzo Visconti, and restored to the 
citizens a mockery of republican independence. Pisa, in 
spite of her Ghibelline traditions, stood a month's siege before 
she would open her gates to a prince who might hand her 
over as a reward to his chief supporter Castruccio Castracani. 
No attempt was made to attack the Duke of Calabria in 
Florence, and Lewis hurried on to Rome. There he was 
crowned emperor. John xxn. was deposed as a heretic, and 
an Antipope was elected. Castruccio was formally created 
Duke of Lucca, Pistoia, and Volterra. But the news came 
that the Florentines had captured Pistoia by stratagem, and 
Castruccio had to hurry north for the defence of his duchy. 
He was indignant that Lewis had given the lordship of Pisa 
to the empress, and in defiance of imperial authority he took 
measures to secure his own rule in the city. From Pisa he 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 143 

advanced to a successful siege of Pistoia, but he died almost 
immediately after (September 3, 1328) of a fever contracted 
in the trenches. 

The death of Castruccio and the humiliating failure of 
Lewis the Bavarian, who was forced to evacuate Rome in the 
autumn of 1328, deprived the Ghibellines of the advantages 
which they had secured in the early part of the year. Lucca, 
which had threatened to subdue both Florence and Pisa, 
became a prize for which many states and adventurers con- 
tended. But the Guelfs did not profit as much as might have 
been expected from the disasters of their opponents. Charles 
of Calabria, having served the purpose of the Florentines by 
saving them from Castruccio, died on November 9, 1328, and 
Florence recovered her independence. Robert of Naples, 
profoundly discouraged by the death of his only son, aban- 
doned most of his ambitious projects and ceased to interfere 
in the politics of northern Italy. Soon afterwards the emperor 
found it necessary to leave Italy in order to look after his 
interests in Germany. Before his departure he restored 
Milan to the rule of Azzo Visconti, the son of the deposed 
Galeazzo, who had perished, like Castruccio, of a disease con- 
tracted during the siege of Pistoia. 

The departure of Lewis and the inactivity of the Neapolitan 
king left the parties in northern Italy to fight out their 
quarrels without foreign aid. The Ghibellines had Power of 
lost their short-lived ascendency in Tuscany, but Mastino 
they were still omnipotent on the Lombard plain. 
By far the most powerful Ghibelline prince at this time was 
Mastino della Scala, who in 1329 had succeeded his uncle 
Cangrande in the government of Verona. Cangrande, a 
typical Italian despot in his combination of relentless cruelty 
with the patronage of letters, had established a strong terri- 
torial power in eastern Lombardy. He had forced Marsilio 
Carrara to govern Padua as his lieutenant, while he had 
brought into direct submission the towns of Vicenza, Feltre, 
Belluno, and Treviso, and was thus enabled to control the 

144 European History, 1273- 1494 

most important eastern passes through the Alps. Mastino 
inherited his uncle's ambition with his territories, and on 
receiving an appeal for aid from the Ghibelline exiles of 
Brescia, he eagerly seized the pretext for laying siege to that 
city. This aggression led to the most interesting and unique 
instance of foreign intervention in Italy. John of Bohemia 
John of (vide p. 18) happened to be at the moment on the 

Bohemia. Italian borders at Trent, negotiating the marriage 
of his second son with the heiress of Tyrol, Margaret Maul- 
tasch (vide p. 107). He had never taken part in Italian politics, 
but he enjoyed a brilliant reputation in Europe, and there 
was much in his position to attract the attention of the 
Italians. He was known to be on the most intimate terms 
with the Pope and the French king, both patrons of the Guelf 
cause. At the same time, as the son of Henry vn., he had 
strong claims on the allegiance of the Ghibellines. If any 
man could act as a mediator in the party feuds of Italy, it was 
the head of the house of Luxemburg. 

To King John the besieged Brescians appealed for assist- 
ance, and offered in return the sovereignty over the city. 
Successes of The P ros P ect of a new field f° r adventure was 
John in more than John could resist. He ordered levies 

Italy. tQ k e co ii ecte( -i j n Bohemia, and warned Mastino 

della Scala to desist from attacking a city which owned his 
lordship. Mastino obeyed on condition that the Ghibelline 
exiles should be restored ; and this promise, to the great 
chagrin of the dominant party in Brescia, the king fulfilled. 
On his entry into the city (December 31, 1330) John 
announced that he would belong to no party, that his one 
aim was to restore peace and justice, and that he hoped 
that before long there would be no more Guelfs and 
Ghibellines. The immediate effect of such unprecedented 
language was almost magical. The Italians, exhausted with 
continual party warfare, welcomed as a protecting angel the 
prince who promised impartiality. One after another the 
cities of northern Italy, Bergamo, Cremona, Pavia, Vercelli, 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 145 

and Novara, placed themselves under the rule of John of 
Bohemia. Even Azzo Visconti, the powerful lord of Milan, 
found it advisable to acknowledge the suzerainty of the king, 
and to accept the title of royal vicar. Soon afterwards 
John's dominions were extended southwards by the sub- 
mission of Parma, Reggio, Modena, and the unfortunate 
Lucca, which had been tossed from hand to hand since the 
death of Castruccio Castracani. In every case the exiles, 
of either faction, were allowed to return, and the government 
was established without any regard to party divisions. For 
a moment it seemed that the spontaneous action of the 
Italians themselves might create the monarchy that had so 
long seemed an impossible dream. 

But John's success was too sudden to be lasting. Party 
enmities were too deeply rooted to be torn up at the first 
effort. Men began to ask in whose name had he opposition 
come; did he represent the Emperor or the to John. 
Pope? An appeal to these potentates produced only 
negative answers. John xxn. was indignant with the king 
for restoring the Ghibelline exiles in Guelf strongholds; 
Lewis was jealous that a rival should succeed where he had 
failed. And John had enemies both in Italy and outside. 
Mastino della Scala felt himself threatened by the rise of a 
conterminous principality in Lombardy, and Florence was 
afraid lest a power which extended so far as Lucca might 
endanger her own independence. In the north the dukes 
of Austria and the kings of Poland and Hungary formed a 
league against him, and John had to cross the Alps for the 
defence of Bohemia. His absence only hastened the 
destruction of a dominion that rested on too shallow a 
foundation to endure. If he had succeeded for a moment 
in uniting Guelfs and Ghibellines under his rule, a still more 
wonderful union was brought about for his overthrow. In 
1332 the strange spectacle was seen of a close league of 
Florence and Naples with Azzo Visconti, Mastino della 
Scala, and other Ghibelline princes of the north. Mastino 

146 European History \ 1273- 1494 

had already succeeded in capturing Brescia, and Azzo had 
seized upon Bergamo and Vercelli. The rest of John's 
possessions were to be partitioned among the allies. Cremona 
was to go to Visconti, Parma to Mastino, Modena to the 
house of Este, Reggio to the Gonzagas of Mantua, and Lucca 
to the Florentines. 

John of Bohemia had succeeded in dividing the northern 
league, and had proceeded to France and Avignon in order 
collapse of to secure the support of Philip vi. and the Pope, 
his power. He now hurried back to the aid of his son 
Charles, whom he had left in charge of his Italian dominions. 
But he found that he had no sufficient native support to 
enable him to face the hostile coalition. The two parties 
whom he had tried to conciliate were now united in 
opposition. He had few real interests at stake in Italy, 
whither he had been mainly attracted by the love of 
adventure. Instead of prosecuting the struggle, he sold his 
prerogatives in each town to the highest bidder he could 
find, and quitted Italy with his son in 1333. The episode is 
interesting as throwing light on the character of John, and on 
the impulsive character of the Italians, but in an indirect 
way it was of unforeseen importance. The future emperor, 
Charles iv., never forgot the experience of Italian politics 
which he had obtained during the two years in which he 
acted as his father's deputy, and one of the dominant 
influences which shaped his subsequent policy in Germany 
(see chapter vi.), was a desire to save that country from 
falling into the same condition as Italy. 

The chief gainers by the overthrow of John of Bohemia 
were the Ghibelline leaders of the confederacy against him, 
and especially Mastino della Scala, who not only 
agahjst t0 °k his own share of the plunder, but refused to 

Mastino give up Lucca, which should have fallen to 
Florence. It was reckoned by contemporaries 
that only one European prince, the king of France, drew a 
larger revenue from his subjects than the lord of Verona. 

Italy tn the Fourteenth Century 147 

But the rapid growth of his power only served to excite the 
enmity of his neighbours. Venice was impelled by self- 
interest to attack a potentate who not only dominated the 
district from which the republic drew its most available 
supplies of food, but also commanded the all-important 
Alpine passes. Florence was eager to punish the ill-faith 
which withheld from her the coveted possession of Lucca. 
Marsilio Carrara was tempted by the prospect of recovering 
the independent lordship of Padua, while Azzo Visconti and 
the other Lombard despots welcomed the opportunity of 
destroying the ascendency in Lombardy which for the last 
decade had been enjoyed by the Scaligers. The result was 
the formation of a powerful league which Mastino was unable 
to resist. In 1338 he was forced to conclude a treaty 
which put an end to the preponderance of Verona in the 
north. Venice received Treviso, with the adjacent territory, 
Castelfranco and Bassano, thus securing a land fertile in corn 
and cattle, and at the same time access to the foot of the 
Alps. The Carrara dynasty was established in Padua as a 
buffer between Venice and the growing power of the Visconti, 
who seized Brescia and Bergamo. Only Verona and Vicenza 
remained to the house of Scala. 

But the unfortunate Florentines were again duped of the 
reward which should have attended their alliance with the 
Ghibelline princes. Lucca was indeed ceded by Mastino 
for a money payment, but the Pisans intervened to prevent 
such an addition to the dominions of their rivals. In 1341 
the Pisans defeated the forces of Florence, and in the next 
year they obtained the surrender of Lucca. This disappoint- 
ment was the last of a series of disasters which weakened and 
discredited the government of the popolo grasso in Florence 
{vide p. 32). In their chagrin the citizens resorted 
to the expedient, so familiar in the mediaeval Briennei 
history of Italy, of intrusting a temporary dictator- Florence, 
ship to a foreigner. Their choice fell upon Walter 1343 ' 
de Brienne, who had previously been active in Florence as 

1 48 European History, 1 27 3 - 1 494 

a follower of Charles of Calabria. His ancestors had 
gained the duchy of Athens at the time when the 
Fourth Crusade had given to western princes the dominion 
of the eastern empire, and though his father had been 
forced to resign in 131 2, Walter still called himself Duke 
of Athens. The temporary military and judicial authority 
intrusted to the duke failed to satisfy his ambition, 
and he set himself to establish a permanent despotism in 
Florence. It was not difficult for him to gain over the 
grandi and the lower classes, who were jealous of the 
monopoly of power claimed by the wealthy burgesses. With 
their aid a parliament was convoked which insisted on voting 
the signory to the duke for his life. But ten months of 
arbitrary rule sufficed to disgust the most liberty-loving people 
in Italy, and the nobles and lesser guilds combined with the 
greater guilds to overthrow the despotism which had risen 
through the jealousy of classes. Walter de Brienne ordered 
his hired horsemen to \ course the city,' i.e. to gallop along the 
principal streets and disperse the insurgents. But the 
citizens had erected barricades to bar the progress of 
the cavalry, and the duke, besieged in the Palazzo Vecchio, 
was compelled to abdicate. His fall was followed by con 
Constitu- cessions to the grandi who had taken an active 
tionai part in the struggle. The Ordinances of Justice 

changes. {pfa p. 32) were repealed, and the office of 
gonfalonier, whose original function was to enforce the 
ordinances, was abolished. The government was to be 
intrusted to twelve priors, three from each quarter of the 
city; and of these three, one was to be a noble and two 
burghers. Other offices were also thrown open to the nobles. 
But the old jealousy of the grandi was too deeply seated to 
allow this arrangement to be permanent. A rising of the 
mob forced the four noble priors to quit the palazzo. The 
nobles took up arms to defend their cause, but the civil 
strife was fatal to the power of their whole class. The 
ordinances, and with them the office of gonfalonier, were 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 149 

revived, and the only permanent result of the crisis was the 
extension of political privileges to the popolo minuto> or 
members of the lesser guilds. The number of priors was 
fixed at eight, two from each quarter, and half the number 
were to belong to the lesser guilds. The gonfalonier was to 
be chosen alternately from the two classes of citizens. But 
while the exclusion of the noble class from office was 
rendered permanent, some five hundred members of that 
class were freed from its disabilities by being disennobled 
and ' raised ' to the rank of ordinary burghers. 

The martial spirit which enabled the Florentines to defeat 
the schemes of the Duke of Athens, was by no means 
common in Italy at the time, and did not endure Rise f 
long even in Florence. The fourteenth century Mercenaries 
witnessed a change in the military system of in Italy * 
Italy which was destined to exercise the most vital and 
lasting effects upon the history of the peninsula. In the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries the military force of each 
state had consisted of the male population of the state 
organised as a militia. The central rallying-point of the 
army was the carroccio or city standard, and the regiments 
were arranged according to local divisions, or sometimes 
according to the guild organisation of the city. Such a force 
was the firmest security for the maintenance of political 
liberty. But when despots began to overthrow republican 
independence in most of the communes, their first aim was 
to disarm their subjects, and to procure troops who had no 
natural sympathy with the native population. The example 
was set by Frederick II., whose government of his southern 
kingdom furnished in many ways a model for the imitation 
of later rulers. In his struggle with the Popes he incurred 
great odium by taking Saracens into his pay. The northern 
despots tried to secure their power by enlisting foreign 
soldiers under their standard. Each of the successive 
invasions of Henry vii., Lewis the Bavarian, and John of 
Bohemia, left behind a number of German adventurers who 

150 European History \ 1273- 1494 

were willing to take Italian pay. These men were formed 
into body-guards by the Visconti and other Italian despots, 
who were thus enabled to disarm their subjects, and to 
trample on their liberties. And the republics which retained 
their independence soon found it necessary to follow the 
example of the princes. The mercenary troops were for 
the most part heavy-armed cavalry, and the civic infantry 
were no match for them in the open field. The republics 
would only have courted destruction by continuing to employ 
a force which was inadequate for their defence. Moreover, 
under the altered conditions of warfare, campaigns were 
much longer than when the struggle was decided by a single 
contest between the armed populace of two rival cities. The 
ordinary citizen could no longer afford to sacrifice his time 
and his business to do work which he might pay others to 
do for him. It was cheaper to be heavily taxed for the 
maintenance of a hired force, than to leave the shop or the 
counting-house for a protracted campaign. The Florentines 
soon adopted the custom of employing mercenaries, and in 
1 35 1 commuted personal service for a money payment. The 
Venetians, though they employed native crews and native 
commanders in their fleet, always hired foreigners to fight 
their battles on land. One result of the change was that 
infantry was wholly superseded by heavy-armed cavalry, until 
the general use of gunpowder, and the intervention of the 
great powers in Italy, brought about another great change in 
the art of war. 

At first the mercenary troops in Italy were employed as the 
body-guard of a tyrant, or as the standing army of a republic. 
Foreign But as the leaders of these forces became con- 

Condottieri. sc j ous f their power, they began to form 
independent armies, which might live at the expense of the 
unwarlike natives, or might acquire wealth by letting out 
their services to the highest bidder. The first notable 
instance of such an army was in 1343, when a German, 
Werner, or, as the Italians called him, Guarnieri, formed the 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 151 

Great Company. He levied contributions on the states which 
he entered with his forces, and only occasionally took part in 
the Italian wars. The same company, or another with the 
same name, appears in 1353 under the command of Fra 
Moreale, who was afterwards put to death by Rienzi. When 
the treaty of Eretigny put an end for a time to the English 
wars in France, a new flood of foreign adventurers poured 
into Italy, where they formed the White Company under the 
famous Englishman, John HawKwood or Giovanni Acuto. He 
was distinguished among condottieri for the fidelity with which 
he performed his contracts, and the Florentines expressed 
their sense of his services by giving him a tomb and a 
monument in the Duomo. 

In the earlier part of the fourteenth century the majority 
of the mercenary soldiers and their commanders were 
foreigners ; in the later part of the century their Native 
place was to a large extent taken by native troops condottieri. 
and condottieri. As the smaller communes were gradually 
deprived of liberty and of an independent political life by the 
extension of the larger states, the more energetic and 
ambitious citizens were only too glad to find an opening for 
their activity in the career of arms. In 1379 the Company of 
St. George, into which none but Italians were admitted, was 
founded by Alberigo da Barbiano, a noble of Romagna. In 
this company were trained Braccio and Sforza, the founders 
of the two great schools of Italian commanders in the 
fifteenth century. That the native troops could be as 
efficient as the foreigners whom they superseded was proved 
in 1401, when a German army in the service of the Emperor 
Rupert was routed by an Italian force which had been hired 
by the Duke of Milan. 

Whatever semblance of unity had been given to Italian 
history by the continuance of party feuds disappeared 
altogether in the later part of the fourteenth century, when 
party allegiance was finally subordinated to the desire of 
each state for territorial aggrandisement. Chronological 

1 5 2 European History, 1 2 7 3 - 1 494 

arrangement becomes impossible, and all that can be done 
is to briefly point out the most notable incidents in the 
history of the greater states. It will be convenient to begin 
this survey with the south of the peninsula, and to proceed 

The ambition of Robert of Naples had been moderated by 
the death of his only son in 1328, and though he continued 
to support the Popes in their quarrel with Lewis 
the Bavarian, he took very little part in Italian 
politics in his later years. The subsequent history of Naples 
turns for the most part upon dynastic rivalry, and demands 
an accurate knowledge of genealogy. 1 Robert himself had 
succeeded his father in 1309 to the exclusion of the stronger 
hereditary claim of his nephew, Carobert of Hungary. 
Carobert died in 1342, leaving two sons, Lewis, king of 
Hungary and afterwards of Poland, and Andrew. Robert, 
who died in the following year, had no direct descendants 
except two granddaughters, Joanna and Maria, the children 
of Charles of Calabria. In the hope of averting strife with 
the Hungarian branch Robert, before his death, arranged a 
Joanna i. marriage between Joanna and her cousin Andrew, 
and Andrew. But this expedient failed to produce the desired 
result. Joanna claimed the right of succession to her grand- 
father, and wished to treat her husband as a mere prince- 
consort. Andrew, however, insisted on the priority of his 
own claim as the male representative of the eldest line. The 
quarrel was complicated by the action of two descendants of 
Robert's younger brothers, Lewis of Taranto, who was sus- 
pected of being Joanna's lover, and Charles of Durazzo, who 
had married Maria, the queen's younger sister. Both were 
aspirants for the succession, and while Lewis sided with 
Joanna, Charles encouraged the Hungarian prince to assert 
his claims. At last, in 1345, Europe was scandalised by the 
news that Andrew had been murdered. Suspicion rested 
from the first upon Joanna and Lewis of Taranto, whom she 
1 See Genealogical Table I, in Appendix. 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 153 

subsequently married, though it is as difficult to furnish 
absolute proof of their guilt as in the superficially similar 
case of Mary Stuart and Bothwell. Lewis of Hungary, how- 
ever, considered himself justified in accusing Joanna of his 
brother's murder, and took measures to exact vengeance and, 
at the same time, to assert his own claim. His expedition 
was delayed for two years by the intrigues of Pope Clement vi., 
by the struggle in Germany between Lewis the Bavarian and 
Charles iv., and by the opposition of the Venetians, always 
quarrelling with Hungary for the possession of Dalmatia. 
It was not till the end of 1347 that Lewis was able to make 
his way overland to Naples. Many of the nobles, including 
Charles of Durazzo, rallied to his cause, and . . ■ 

_ . , _ _ 1 Lewis of 

Joanna was forced to fly to Provence. Lewis Hungary 
was crowned king of Naples, and one of his first invades 

, , ' , , . _ Naples. 

acts was to put to death Charles of Durazzo, 
nominally on a charge of complicity in Andrew's death, but 
probably because he might prove a dangerous candidate for the 
throne. The outbreak of the Black Death and difficulties in 
Hungary compelled Lewis to return northwards, and Joanna 
seized the opportunity to attempt the recovery of her 
kingdom. To raise money she sold Avignon to Clement vi., 
and it remained a papal possession till its annexation to 
France in 1791. Joanna's return to Naples was followed by 
a desultory war with the Hungarian party. Lewis returned 
to uphold his cause in 1350, but he found it practically 
impossible to hold a kingdom so distant from Hungary, and in 
1 35 1 he agreed to a treaty. The question of Joanna's guilt was 
referred to the Pope, and on his decision in her favour Lewis 
resigned the Neapolitan crown, magnanimously refusing the 
money compensation which was offered him by the papal award. 
For the next thirty years the history of Naples was com- 
paratively uneventful. Joanna married two more husbands 
after the death of Lewis of Taranto, but had no succession to 
children to survive her. As she grew old the Joanna 1. 
question of the succession became of pressing importance, 

154 European History \ 1273- 1494 

Her nearest relative was her niece, Margaret, the daughter of 
her sister Maria and the Charles of Durazzo who had been 
put to death in 1348. The latter's brother, Lewis, had left a 
son, another Charles of Durazzo, who, in 1370, married his 
cousin Margaret, and was afterwards treated by Joanna as 
her heir. But in 1378 the Great Schism in the Papacy began, 
and the queen and her nephew took opposite sides. Joanna 
was the first and most ardent supporter of Clement vil, 
whereas Charles of Durazzo, who had been trained and 
employed by his kinsman, Lewis of Hungary, espoused the 
cause of Urban vi. The result was a violent quarrel, and 
Urban encouraged Charles, in 1381, to take up arms against 
Joanna instead of waiting for the succession. Determined to 
disinherit her undutiful kinsman, and, at the same time, to 
The second g am tne support of France, Joanna offered to 
House of adopt as her heir Louis of Anjou, brother of 
Anjou. Charles v. of France. Louis could trace descent 

from the Neapolitan house, as his great-grandfather, Charles 
of Valois, had married a daughter of Charles 11. of Naples. 
The offer was accepted, and from it arose the claim to 
Naples of the second house of Anjou — a claim which dis- 
tracted southern Italy for a century, and ultimately passing 
to the French king, became the pretext for the famous 
invasion of Charles vm. in 1494. But for the moment 
Joanna's action brought her little good. Before aid could 
come from France she was taken prisoner by Charles, and 
Charles in. died in captivity (May 22, 1382). The successful 
and Louis i. prince was crowned as Charles in. of Naples. 
His rival, Louis of Anjou, seized one of Joanna's dominions, 
the county of Provence, which remained in the hands of his 
descendants. He also led a formidable army to enforce his 
claim upon Naples, but he was not successful, and died in 
1385 without gaining more than the mere title of king. 

Charles in. was now firmly established in Naples, but the 
disturbances in Hungary after the death of Lewis the Great 
induced him to assert a claim to that kingdom. A momentary 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 155 

success was followed by his assassination (February 24, 1386). 
Hungary fell into the hands of Sigismund, and civil war broke 
out in Naples between the supporters of Ladislas, Ladisias 
Charles m.'s son, and Louis 11. of Anjou, who * ndLoui « 11 - 
inherited the claims of his father. There is no need to trace 
the details of the struggle, which after many fluctuations of 
success ended in the victory of Ladislas. For a few years 
in the next century Ladislas was one of the most influential 
and active princes of Italy, On his premature death in 14 14, 
the crown of Naples passed to his sister Joanna II., in whom 
the direct line of the original Angevin house of Naples came 
to an end. 

It would be tedious, and perhaps impossible, to narrate in 
detail the history of the Papal States during the residence of 
the Popes at Avignon and the subsequent schism. Rome and 
Under the strongest of the preceding Popes, there the Pa P al 
had never been any organised central government 
in the territories which owned their sway. The Popes had 
been the suzerains rather than the rulers of the States of the 
Church. Every considerable city was either a republic with 
its own municipal government, or was subject to a despot 
who had succeeded in undermining the communal institutions. 
Even in Rome itself the bishop could exercise little direct 
authority. Over and over again, the turbulence of the citizens 
had driven successive Popes to seek a refuge in some smaller 
town. In fact, the Romans might easily have shaken off papal 
rule altogether but for two considerations. The Popes drew 
so much wealth from Latin Christendom that they could 
afford to levy very light taxes upon their immediate subjects. 
And the Romans gained enormous indirect profit from the 
crowds of pilgrims and wealthy suitors who were constantly 
drawn to the papal court. It is true that this profit was 
diverted to Avignon in the fourteenth century, but though 
this was a great grievance to the Romans, it was a reason for 
demanding the return of the Popes rather than for making 
the separation permanent. The government of Rome was in 

156 European History, 1273- 1494 

theory republican, but nothing survived from the ancient 
republic except its memory and its disorder. A Senate 
had been revived in the twelfth century only to prove a 
complete failure, and the name of Senator had come to be 
applied to a temporary magistrate, who was sometimes elected 
by the citizens but more often nominated by the Pope. A 
central board of thirteen officers, one from each rione or 
district of the city, was intrusted with the municipal adminis- 
tration, but it had little real authority. Every other commune 
in Italy had found it necessary to restrict or abolish the 
privileges of the feudal nobles. But in Rome the Colonnas, 
the Orsini, and other noble families enjoyed the most lawless 
independence and treated the citizens with the utmost con- 
tempt. The brawls of their retainers filled the streets with 
disorder, and it was dangerous for the townspeople to resist 
any outrage either on person or on property. The Popes 
had rarely been successful in checking the lawlessness of the 
barons, and now that the Pope was at a distance from Rome 
all restraint upon their licence seemed to be removed. 

It was in these circumstances that a momentary revival of 
order and liberty was effected by the most extraordinary ad- 
venturer of an age that was prolific in adventurers. 
Cola di Rienzi was born of humble parents, though 
he afterwards tried to gratify his own vanity and to gain the 
ear of Charles iv. by claiming to be the bastard son of 
Henry vn. A wrong which he could not venture to avenge 
excited his bitter hostility against the baronage, while the 
study of Livy and other classical writers inspired him with 
regretful admiration for the glories of ancient Rome. He 
succeeded in attracting notice by his personal beauty and by 
the rather turgid eloquence which was his chief talent. In 
1342 he took the most prominent part in an embassy from 
the citizens to Clement vi., and though he failed to induce 
the Pope to return to Rome, which at that time he seems to 
have regarded as the panacea for the evils of the time, he 
gained sufficient favour at Avignon to be appointed papal 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 157 

notary. From this time he deliberately set himself to raise 
the people to open resistance against their oppressors, while 
he disarmed the suspicions of the nobles by intentional 
buffoonery and extravagance of conduct. On May 20, 1347, 
the first blow was struck. Rienzi with a chosen band of 
conspirators, and accompanied by the papal vicar, who had 
every interest in weakening the baronage, proceeded to the 
Capitol, and, amidst the applause of the mob, promulgated the 
laws of the buono stato. He himself took the title The 'good 
of Tribune in order to emphasise his championship e8tate -' 
of the lower classes. The most important of his laws were 
for the maintenance of order. Private garrisons and fortified 
houses were forbidden. Each of the thirteen districts was to 
maintain an armed force of a hundred infantry and twenty- 
five horsemen. Every port was provided with a cruiser for 
the protection of merchandise, and the trade on the Tiber was 
to be secured by a river police. 

The nobles watched the progress of this astonishing revolu- 
tion with impotent surprise. Stefano Colonna, who was 
absent on the eventful day, expressed his scorn of R i enzi ' t 
the mob and their leader. But a popular attack triumph 
on his palace convinced him of his error, and an a ' 
forced him to fly from the city. Within fifteen days 
the triumph of Rienzi seemed to be complete, when the 
proudest nobles of Rome submitted and took an oath to 
support the new constitution. But the suddenness of his 
success was enough to turn a head which was never of the 
strongest. The Tribune began to dream of restoring to the 
Roman Republic its old supremacy. And for a moment 
even this dream seemed hardly chimerical. Europe was 
really dazzled by the revival of its ancient capital. Lewis of 
Hungary and Joanna of Naples submitted their quarrel to 
Rienzi's arbitration. Thus encouraged, he set no bounds to 
his ambition. He called upon the Pope and cardinals to 
return at once to Rome. He summoned Lewis and Charles, 
the two claimants to the imperial dignity, to appear before 

1 5 8 European History, 1 27 3 - 1 494 

his throne and submit to his tribunal. His arrogance was 
shown in the pretentious titles which he assumed, and in the 
gorgeous pomp with which he was accompanied on public 
and even on private occasions. On August 15, after bathing 
in the porphyry font in which the Emperor Constantine had 
been baptized, he was crowned with seven crowns represent- 
ing the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. His most loyal 
admirer prophesied disaster when the Tribune ventured on 
this occasion to blasphemously compare himself with Christ. 
And Rienzi's government deteriorated with his personal 
character. It had at first been liberal and just ; it became 
arbitrary and even treacherous. His personal timidity mads 
him at once harsh and vacillating. The heads of the great 
families, whom he had invited to a banquet, were seized and 
condemned to death on a charge of conspiracy. But a 
sudden terror of the possible consequences of his action 
caused him to relent, and he released his victims just as they 
were preparing for execution. His leniency was as ill-timed 
as his previous severity. The nobles could no longer trust 
him, and their fear was diminished by the weakness which 
they despised while they profited by it. They retired from 
Rome and concerted measures for the overthrow of their 
enemy. The first attack, which was led by Stefano Colonna, 
was repulsed almost by accident ; but Rienzi, who had shown 
more cowardice than generalship, disgusted his supporters by 
his indecent exultation over the bodies of the slain. And 
there was one fatal ambiguity in Rienzi's position. He had 
begun by announcing himself as the ally and champion of 
the Papacy, and Clement VI. had been willing enough to 
stand by and watch the destruction of the baronage. But 
the growing independence and the arrogant pretensions of the 
Tribune exasperated the Pope. A new legate was despatched 
to Italy to denounce and excommunicate Rienzi as a heretic. 
The latter had no longer any support to lean upon. When 
a new attack was threatened, the people sullenly refused to 
obey the call to arms. Rienzi had not sufficient courage to 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 159 

risk a final struggle. On December 15 he abdicated and 
retired in disguise from Rome. His rise to power, his dazzling 
triumph, and his downfall were all comprised within the brief 
period of seven months. 

For the next tew years Rienzi disappeared from view. 
According to his own account he was concealed in a cave in the 
Apennines, where he associated with some of the Rienzi in 
wilder members of the sect of the Fraticelli, and exile « 
probably imbibed some of their tenets. Rome relapsed into 
anarchy, and men's minds were distracted from politics by 
the ravages of the Black Death. The great jubilee held in 
Rome in 1350 became a kind of thanksgiving service of those 
whom the plague had spared. It is said that Rienzi himself 
visited the scene of his exploits without detection among the 
crowds of pilgrims. But he was destined to reappear in a 
more public and disastrous manner. In his solitude his 
courage and his ambition revived, and he meditated new 
plans for restoring freedom to Rome and to Italy. The 
allegiance to the Church, which he had professed in 1347, 
was weakened by the conduct of Clement vi. and by the 
influence of the Fraticelli, and he resolved in the future to 
ally himself with the secular rather than with the ecclesiasti- 
cal power, with the Empire rather than with the Papacy. In 
August 135 1 he appeared in disguise in Prague and demanded 
an audience of Charles iv. To him he proposed the far- 
reaching scheme which he had formed during his exile. The 
Pope and the whole body of clergy were to be deprived of 
their temporal power ; the petty tyrants of Italy were to be 
driven out ; and the emperor was to fix his residence in Rome 
as the supreme ruler of Christendom. All this was to be 
accomplished by Rienzi himself at his own cost and trouble. 
Charles iv. listened with some curiosity to a man whose 
career had excited such universal interest, but he was the 
last man to be carried away by such chimerical suggestions. 
The introduction into the political proposals of some of the 
religious and communistic ideas of the Fraticelli gave the 
king a pretext for committing Rienzi to the Archbishop of 

160 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

Prague for correction and instruction. The archbishop com- 
municated with the Pope, and on the demand of Clement vi. 
Charles agreed to hand Rienzi over to the papal court on 
condition that his life should be spared. In 1352 Rienzi 
was conveyed to Avignon and thrust into prison. He owed 
his life perhaps less to the king's request than to the op- 
portune death of Clement vi. in this year. 

The new Pope, Innocent vi., was more independent of 
French control than his immediate predecessors. The 
French king was fully occupied with internal disorders, and 
with the English war. Thus the Pope was able to give more 
attention to Italian politics, which were sufficiently pressing. 
The independence and anarchy of the Papal States consti- 
tuted a serious problem, but the danger of their subjection 
to a foreign power was still more serious. In 1350 the 
important city of Bologna had been seized by the Visconti 
of Milan, and the progress of this powerful family threatened 
to absorb the whole of the Romagna. Innocent determined 
to resist their encroachments, and at the same time to restore 
Aiborno* the papal authority, and in 1353 he intrusted 
in Italy. this double task to Cardinal Albornoz. Albornoz, 
equally distinguished as a diplomatist and as a military 
commander, resolved to ally the cause of the Papacy with 
that of liberty. His programme was to overthrow the tyrants 
as the enemies both of the people and of the Popes, and 
to restore municipal self-government under papal protection. 
His attention was first directed to the city of Rome, which, 
after many vicissitudes since 1347, had fallen under the 
influence of a demagogue named Baroncelli. Baroncelli had 
revived to some extent the schemes of Rienzi, but had 
declared openly against papal rule. To oppose this new 
Rienzi's tribune, Albornoz conceived the project of using 
return and the influence of Rienzi, whose rule was now 
death, 1354. regretted by the populace that had previously 
deserted him. The Pope was persuaded to release Rienzi 
from prison and to send him to Rome, where the 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 16 1 

effect of his presence was almost magical. The Romans 
flocked to welcome their former liberator, and he was re- 
installed in power with the title of Senator, conferred upon 
him by the Pope. But his character was not improved by 
adversity, and his rule was more arbitrary and selfish than it 
had been before. The execution of the condotticre, Fra 
Moreale, was an act of ingratitude as well as of treachery. 
Popular favour was soon alienated from a ruler who could 
no longer command either affection or respect, and in a 
mob rising Rienzi was put to death (October 8, 1354). 
But his return had served the purpose of Albornoz. Rome 
was preserved to the Papacy, and the cardinal Recovery 
could proceed in safety with his task of sub- ofthePapai 
duing the independent tyrants of Romagna. Sutes ' 
Central Italy had not yet witnessed the general introduction 
of mercenaries, and the native populations still fought their 
own battles. The policy of exciting revolts among the 
subject citizens was completely successful, and by 1360 
almost the whole of Romagna had submitted to the papal 
legate. His triumph was crowned in this year, when, by 
skilful use of quarrels among the Visconti princes, he suc- 
ceeded in recovering Bologna. 

But the successes of Albornoz appeared more like the 
conquests of a foreign power than the restoration of a 
legitimate authority. The long residence in Returnof 
Avignon had alienated Italian sympathies from the Popes 
the Papacy. The Visconti embarked in open toRome - 
war with the Popes after the fall of Bologna, and they had 
many advantages on their side. The ecclesiastical thunders 
which had frightened Lewis the Bavarian into submission 
had no terrors for Italian princes. When Bernabo Visconti 
received a bull of excommunication from the Pope, he 
forced the legates to eat the parchment and the leaden seal. 
It was evident that nothing but a return to Italy could 
render permanent the restored secular authority of the Popes. 
Urban v., who succeeded Innocent vi. in 1362, was induced 

period in. F 

1 62 European History, 127 3- 1494 

by the arguments of Albomoz and the personal influence of 
Charles iv. to disregard the prejudices of the cardinals, and in 
T368 he entered Rome, where he was joined by the emperor. 
But Urban was soon discouraged by the death of Albomoz, 
and the obvious weakness of imperial support. He had no 
natural interests in Italy, which was a foreign country to 
him, and he found Rome quite as uncomfortable a place of 
residence as it had been represented. In 1370 he embarked 
for Marseilles, and returned to Avignon. His departure had 
the most disastrous results. Papal authority was repudiated 
by the cities of Romagna, and the Visconti hastened to take 
advantage of the altered conditions. Even Gregory xi., who 
had been chosen by the cardinals as the least likely candi- 
date to quit Avignon, found it necessary to follow his 
predecessor's example and return to Italy. But his experi- 
ence in Rome convinced him that the enterprise was hope- 
less, and his departure was only prevented by his death 
(March, 1378). The choice of an Italian, Urban vi., as his 
The Schism, successor was a partial concession to the violence 
1378-1418. f me R oman mo b. On the first pretext the 
French cardinals deserted their nominee, and the election of 
a rival Pope, Clement vil, inaugurated the Great Schism 
which lasted for forty years. During this period the 
temporal authority of the Papacy was again annihilated, 
and it was not till the Council of Constance had restored 
unity in 1418 that its revival could once more be seriously 

The history of Florence in the fourteenth century is filled 

with a continuous struggle of classes and families for political 

ascendency. Though the details of the struggle 

Florence. ,. L - , . . . 

are complicated and wearisome, it is necessary 
to pay some attention to its general character in order to 
understand the conditions under which the later authority of 
the Medici grew up. The expulsion of the Duke of Athens 
had been followed by a settlement by which the grandi 
were excluded from political power, which was to bz shared 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 163 

between the members of the greater and the lesser guilds. 
But as time went on, and the memory of previous disasters 
was effaced, the popclo grasso began to aim at the Class 
recovery of their former preponderance in the J ealousie «« 
city. To propose a direct change of the constitution might 
provoke a rising of the artisans, so it was decided to obtain 
the desired end by indirect methods. A law of 1301, of 
which it was forbidden to propose the revocation under 
heavy penalties, decreed that a Ghibelline, or any man sus- 
pected of not being a true Guelf, was to be incapable of 
holding office. For the carrying out of this law there grew 
up the practice of ammonizio, which has been called the 
ostracism of Florence. If a charge of Ghibellinism were 
brought against a man, and supported by six witnesses, who 
swore to public report, the priors were bound to admonish 
the accused, and any person thus admonished (ammonito) 
was excluded from office. His name was not placed in tlie 
bags, or if it were already included, it was put on one side 
when drawn out and another name drawn in its place. This 
party device was now employed by the wealthy burghers to 
recover a monopoly of power for their class. By systemati- 
cally bringing a charge of Ghibellinism against the members 
of the lesser guilds who were likely to obtain office, their 
exclusion could be effected without any open assertion of 
disqualification. In carrying out this policy the plutocrats 
were aided by the organisation of the parte Guelfa (vide p. 35), 
which was the stronghold of oligarchical interests within the 
republic. The accusations were managed by the captains of 
the parte, and they could always find the necessary six 
witnesses. The pretext for so strict an enforcement of the 
law against Ghibellinism was found in the two Italian visits 
of Charles iv. in 1353 and 1368, though the emperor did 
nothing whatever to excite the alarm of the Guelfs. 

No sooner had the wealthy burghers won their victory by 
the abuse of what should have been a legal proceeding, than 
they were divided by the family quarrel of the Albizzi and 

164 European History \ 1273- 1494 

the Ricci. Both families belonged to the popolo grasso, and 
their feud had at first none of the political significance 
The Aibizzi which came to be associated with it. In fact, 
and Ricci. tne Ri cc i were tne first to urge the harsh enforce- 
ment of the anti-Ghibelline laws, hoping to discredit their 
opponents, who came originally from the Ghibelline town of 
Arezzo. But the Aibizzi succeeded in gaining the support of 
the parte, Guelfa, and were thus enabled to turn the tables on 
their rivals. The ammonizio was as useful a weapon against 
the Ricci faction as against the popolo minuto. By 1374 the 
Aibizzi and their supporters had got the government into 
their hands. But the indiscreet violence of their proceedings 
provoked serious opposition. The ammoniti, constantly in- 
creasing in number, became more and more formidable. 
The desire for office, such a passion among the Florentines, 
was due not merely to ordinary ambition, but also to the 
fact that the taxes were assessed by the arbitrary will of the 
state officials. The dominant faction, however, failed to 
appreciate the dangers that confronted them, and in seven 
months of 1377 more than eighty persons were admonished. 
This recklessness brought about their ruin. In May 1378, 
Salvestro de' Medici, who belonged to the Ricci party, was 
drawn as gonfalonier. The bags were so depleted that the 
possibility of his selection was foreseen, but his attachment 
to Guelf principles was so well known that it was considered 
unsafe to accuse him. In his second month of office he 
proposed a law to lessen the power of the parte Gueifa, and 
to facilitate the recovery of civic rights by the ammoniti. 
As the scheme was opposed in the council, one of Salvestro's 
supporters, Benedetto Alberti, called the people to arms, and 
the law was carried under the pressure of mob violence. 

The result was an unforeseen revolution. The Ricci 
Rising of the had been driven by common grievances into 
ciompi,i378. an alliance w i tn the lesser guilds, but the de- 
mand for redress was taken up by the Ciompi, the lowest 
class of all. They were influenced, not so much by the wish 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 1 65 

to obtain political power as by the desire to extort better 
terms from their employers. Their movement was half 
revolution and half strike. The rising of the mob, which 
speedily passed beyond the control of those who had called 
in its aid, might have destroyed the foundations of the state 
but for the action of a poor wool-comber, Michel Lando, 
who was raised to the office of gonfalonier by the accident 
of popular caprice. He succeeded in suppressing disorder, 
while he satisfied the more rational demands of his own class. 
A number of new guilds were formed of artisans who had 
hitherto been unorganised. Of the eight priors, three were 
to be taken from the arti maggiori, three from the arti 
minorty and two from the new guilds. After effecting this 
settlement, Lando, with a modesty as rare as the untaught 
statesmanship he had displayed, resigned his office. His 
retirement left the chief power in the hands of the party 
which had started the movement, but had been unable to 
control its course. Salvestro de' Medici had disappeared 
from public life. Though he was only a distant relative of 
the later Medici, his career served to associate the family 
name with the popular cause, and to give them a cue for the 
policy they afterwards pursued. The leadership of his party 
fell into the hands of a triumvirate, consisting of Benedetto 
Alberti, Tommaso Strozzi, and Giorgio Scali. Alberti was 
a fairly moderate politician, but his two associates were 
ambitious demagogues, who imitated the abuses of the 
Albizzi, and employed the amtnonizio to rid „ 

• • Counter- 

themselves of their personal enemies. The in- revolution 
evitable reaction set in in 1382. A hostile inl 3 8a - 
signoria came into office, and a servant of Giorgio Scali 
was arrested on a charge of bearing false witness. Strozzi 
fled from the city, but Scali, trusting in the favour of the 
mob, determined to resist. His attempt to rescue his 
servant was a failure, and he himself was seized by the 
priors. The populace would not rise on his behalf, and 
he was put to death. A counter-revolution undid all the 

1 66 European History, 1 273-1494 

changes of 1378. A balia constituted by a parliament 
abolished the new guilds, and decreed that the priors should 
be chosen, four from the greater, and four from the lesser 
guilds. The gonfalonier was always to belong to the former, 
who thus secured a majority in the signory. The Albizzi 
and other exiles were recalled to the city. 

For the next fifty years after 1382, Florence was ruled by 
an ever-narrowing oligarchy. First, the greater guilds 
Oligarchical recovere ^ a practical monopoly of office. Later, 
rule in certain members of these guilds obtained such 

Florence. complete ascendency that the government almost 
ceased to be a republic, and thus the way was prepared for 
the absolutism of the Medici. In 1387 Benedetto Alberti, 
the most blameless of the leaders in 1378, was driven into 
exile. A new squittinio filled the bags with the names of 
partisans of the dominant faction. A separate bag was 
formed for the chief leaders of the faction, and two priors 
were to be drawn from among them {Priori del Borsellino). 
Six of the priors were to belong to the greater guilds, and 
only two to the lesser. In 1393 Maso Albizzi, the leader of 
the oligarchy, held the office of gonfalonier, and further 
measures were taken to strengthen its supremacy. If a 
gonfalonier were drawn who was displeasing to the rulers, 
another was to be drawn in his place, though the former was 
to remain one of the priors. Three priors instead of two 
were to be taken from the borsellino, or special bag. The 
signory was allowed to raise troops, and to levy taxes for 
their payment, without having to obtain the consent of the 
councils. These measures provoked a rising among the 
artisans. The rioters repaired to the house of Vieri de 
Medici, and invited him to lead them against the Albizzi. 
Vieri, who was a kinsman of Saivestrode' Medici, refused the 
offer of the mob, and the movement was suppressed. In 
1397 another rebellion, in which two members of the Medici 
family were concerned, was also put down, and the rule of 
the dominant oligarchy was more firmly established than ever, 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 167 

The great characteristic of this period of oligarchical 
government is the activity and aggressiveness of the republic 
in its external relations. Before 1342 Florence Growthof 
had acquired the rule of considerable territories Florentine 
beyond the limits of its own contado, but most dominion8 - 
of these dominions were lost in the disturbances which 
accompanied the expulsion of the Duke of Athens. The 
great service which the oligarchy rendered to Florence was 
the recovery of its ascendency in northern Tuscany. Prato, 
Pistoia, Volterra, San Miniato, and several lesser towns were 
acquired between 1350 and 1368. In 1387 the important 
town of Arezzo was sold to the Florentines by Enguerrand de 
Coucy, who had held it as the lieutenant of Louis of Anjou. 
For some years after this the growth of Florence was checked 
by a desperate war against the encroachments of Gian 
Galeazzo Visconti, who threatened to unite Tuscany and 
Lombardy under his rule. It was in this war that Sir John 
Hawkwood commanded for Florence against the Milanese 
condottiere^ Jacopo del Verme. After Hawkwood's death in 
1394, the republic was for a time in serious danger. To save 
their independence, the Florentines took the unusual step of 
appealing for German assistance, and urged the Elector 
Palatine, Rupert, who had been elected king of the Romans 
in opposition to Wenzel of Bohemia, to make war against 
the lord of Milan. The defeat of the German army at the 
battle of Brescia left Florence in greater straits than ever, 
when the sudden death of Gian Galeazzo in 1402 not only 
saved the Florentines from Milanese aggression, but enabled 
them to resume their policy of expansion. Within the next 
twenty years Pisa, Cortona, and Livorno had been added to 
the dominions of Florence. 

In northern Italy the fourteenth century witnessed the 
final struggle between the two great maritime republics, 
Venice and Genoa. Ever since the beginning Venice and 
of the Crusades they had been rivals for com- Genoa- 
mercial and political ascendency in the Levant. At first the 

1 68 European History ', 1273- 1494 

advantage had been on the side of the Venetians, and the 
diversion of the Fourth Crusade in 1204 to attack the Eastern 
Empire had given them a dominant position in the islands 
and coasts of the ^Egean. But the Genoese had their 
revenge in 1261, when they aided to overthrow the Latin 
Empire, and to establish Michael Palaeologus in Con- 
stantinople. As a reward for their services they received 
the suburb of Pera with the fortress of Galata, whence they 
could dictate to the occupants of the imperial throne. The 
control of the straits enabled them to assume a virtual 
monopoly of the trade of the Black Sea, and their port of 
Kaffa in the Crimea became one of the most flourishing cities 
in the east. Pisa, which had once been the equal or even 
the superior of Genoa, lost all maritime importance after the 
battle of Meloria (1284). 

For the next century Venice and Genoa contended on fairly 
equal terms. In wealth and maritime power they were evenly 
matched. Genoa had most of the northern trade that passed 
through the Black Sea and Constantinople ; but Venice, which 
held Negropont, Crete, and other islands, had the advantage 
in the other two channels of eastern trade, through Asia 
Minor and Egypt. Genoa, however, was ready to seize any 
opportunity of contesting this southern trade with her rival. 
The occupation of Chios gave her a valuable port in the 
iEgean. Cyprus, which became an important commercial 
centre after the fall of Acre (1291), was the scene of many 
conflicts between the two republics. The people and the 
ruling house of Lusignan favoured Venice, but the Genoese 
went to war to secure their interests, and the seizure of 
Famagusta in 1373 gave them for some time the upper hand 
in Cyprus. On the African coast they also succeeded in 
establishing trade settlements. Farther west, the Genoese 
had several things in their favour. The occupation of Corsica 
gave them a great addition of maritime strength, though 
their dispute with Aragon for the possession of Sardinia 
exposed them to the enmity of the Catalans, who ranked 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 169 

after Venice and Genoa as the third naval power in the 
Mediterranean. On the mainland the mountains which 
confined Genoa to a narrow strip of coast, and prohibited 
territorial expansion, served also to protect her from 
continental enemies. Venice, on the other hand, ever since 
the war with Mastino della Scala had given her territories on 
the mainland, was exposed to the hostility of her neighbours, 
especially the kings of Hungary and the lords of Padua. If 
these states were allied with Genoa, Venice ran the risk of 
being cut off from supplies both by sea and land. As against 
this balance of strength in east and west, there was one 
important difference between the two states which ultimately 
turned the scales decisively in favour of Venice. By the 
beginning of the century she had built up a constitution 
which, whatever its narrowness and other defects, had the 
supreme merit of stability. The so-called conspiracy of 
Marin Falier, which led to the execution of the Doge in 1355, 
only served to prove the strength of the edifice which he 
proposed to attack, and the impotence of the chief magistrate 
to resist the Council of Ten. Genoa, on the other hand, 
was one of the most turbulent and factious of Italian cities. 
For a long time the leaders of these domestic feuds were the 
four noble houses of Doria, Fieschi, Spinola, and Grimaldi, 
who disguised their family jealousies under the names of 
Ghibelline and Guelf. In 1339 the Genoese, weary of their 
factions, adopted for their chief magistracy the title of Doge, 
and conferred it by acclamation upon an eminent citizen, 
Simone Boccanegra. After the fashion of Florence and other 
Tuscan communes, the nobles were disqualified from holding 
political office. But in Genoa the remedy proved wholly 
illusory. The nobles continued to command the military 
and naval forces of the republic, and were thus enabled to 
retain their predominance in the state. The offices, which 
they could not hold themselves, were conferred upon their 
plebeian adherents, as the Adorni and Fregosi, who for a long 
time succeeded each other in the dogeship according to the 

170 European History \ 1273- 1494 

fluctuations of power among their noble patrons. As 
Commines tells us, 'the nobles in Genoa could appoint a 
doge, though they could not hold the office themselves.' 
Thus Genoa continued to be distracted by factions, and when 
the citizens sought a brief interval of repose, the only method 
by which they could secure it was to sacrifice their liberty 
to a foreign ruler — sometimes to Milan, and sometimes to 

The attempt of the Genoese merchants at Kaffa to exclude 
the Venetians from the lucrative free trade with the Tartars 
war of * e( * to numerous quarrels in the Black Sea, and 

Venice and ultimately to open warfare between the two 
Genoa, 1350-5- state s. Venice secured the support of John 
Cantacuzenos, the Greek Emperor, who disliked Genoese 
dictation at Pera, and of Peter of Aragon, who was con- 
tending with Genoa for the possession of Sardinia. In 1352 
Niccolo Pisani, with a powerful fleet of Venetian, Greek, and 
Catalan vessels, sailed to attack Pera, which was defended by 
the Genoese admiral, Paganino Doria. In the narrow waters 
of the Bosphorus the allies were unable to make full use of 
their numbers, and a furious storm threw their vessels into 
such disorder that they did more harm to each other than to 
the enemy. Pisani was forced to retire, but Doria, though 
victorious, had suffered such losses that he was superseded 
by Antonio Grimaldi. In 1353 the Aragonese, who had fewer 
interests in the Levant than their allies, insisted upon trans- 
ferring hostilities to the coast of Sardinia. In the open water 
off Cagliari the Venetians and Catalans gained a complete 
victory, and Grimaldi with difficulty escaped to carry the 
news of this crushing disaster to Genoa. Pisani was too 
weakened by the encounter to venture a direct attack upon 
Genoa, but the Genoese were so panic-stricken that they 
offered the lordship of the city to Giovanni Visconti, in order 
to gain tne aid of Milan. Venice replied to this move by an 
alliance with the opponents of Milan on the mainland, but 
the struggle continued to be fought out at sea. Paganino 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 171 

Doria, restored to the command after Grimaldi's defeat, once 
more carried the war into eastern waters. Pisani, after an 
uneventful campaign in 1354, had retired into winter quarters 
at Portolungo on the coast of the Morea, under the shelter 
of the island of Sapienza. There the Venetians were sur- 
prised by Doria, and their fleet was completely annihilated 
(November 4, 1354)- The battle of Sapienza was the most 
decisive engagement of the struggle. It was followed by the 
conspiracy and death of Marin Falier, and the Venetians were 
so discouraged by the combination of external defeat and 
domestic treason that they concluded peace with Genoa in 
1355. All demands for concessions in the Black Sea were 
abandoned, and Genoa retained its superiority in the northern 

For the next twenty years the two republics remained at 
peace with each other. Genoa succeeded in throwing off the 
Milanese yoke in 1356, with the result that the factions 
resumed their quarrels. Venice became involved in a war 
with Lewis the Great of Hungary (1356-8), in which Dalmatia 
was lost and Treviso was only retained with difficulty. This 
was followed by a revolt in Crete which was put down (1364), 
and by almost continuous quarrels with Francesco Carrara of 
Padua. These events forced the Venetians to maintain a 
policy of peace in the east. Even the war of 1373 in Cyprus, 
which subjected that island to the suzerainty of Genoa, failed 
to provoke more than a verbal protest from Venice. But 
events in the Eastern Empire at last drove the two republics 
to resume hostilities. John Palaeologus had promised to 
Venice the rocky island of Tenedos, which commanded the 
entrance to the Hellespont. The Genoese, regarding this as 
threatening their security in Pera, organised a palace revolu- 
tion in Constantinople, and seated Andronicus on the throne 
in place of his father. In return for this aid the usurper 
ceded Tenedos to his allies. But the governor of the island 
refused to recognise the authority of Andronicus, and handed 
his charge over to the Venetians. This was the immediate 

\J2 European History, 1273- 1494 

occasion for war. Vettor Pisani, in 1378, defeated the 
Genoese fleet off Cape Antium, and cleared the Adriatic of 
War of tne P* rates wft0 plundered Venetian commerce. 

Chioggia, The winter he spent in the harbour of Pola, and 
1378-81. was s -tiH there when he was confronted by Luciano 

Doria in command of another Genoese force (May 7, 1379). 
In the battle which followed Pisani was completely defeated, 
and was sentenced by the indignant Venetians to six months' 
imprisonment and exclusion from any command for five 
years. Pietro Doria, the successor of Luciano who had been 
killed in the engagement, led the victorious fleet to the 
lagoons of Venice. The town of Chioggia, which commanded 
one of the main entrances from the open sea, was taken after 
an obstinate defence, and the way was opened to Venice 
itself. A prompt attack would probably have been successful, 
but Doria preferred the slower and surer method of a 
blockade. In this he reckoned upon the aid of Francesco 
Carrara, who eagerly welcomed the opportunity of humbling 
the formidable republic, and undertook to prevent the transit 
of supplies from the mainland. 

Never had the Venetians been in such a strait, but the 
courage of the citizens rose to meet the danger. Every vessel 
in Venetian waters was equipped and manned, and Vettor 
Pisani, the idol of the sailors, was released from prison to 
assume the chief command. Messengers were sent eastwards 
to recall Carlo Zeno, who had been despatched to the Levant 
at the beginning of the war with the second Venetian fleet. 
Meanwhile Pisani undertook the defence of Venice and gradu- 
ally drove the Genoese back to their stronghold of Chioggia. 
There he determined to shut them in by blocking the main out- 
lets to the sea. Ships full of stones were sunk in the channels of 
Brondolo, Chioggia, and Malamocco, and thus the blockaders 
were in their turn blockaded. But Pisani's force was hardly 
strong enough to maintain the blockade during the storms of 
winter. If reinforcements came from Genoa he would be 
forced to retire, and Venice would once more be in imminent 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 173 

danger. So conscious were the Venetian leaders of the risk 
of ultimate defeat that they even discussed the possible 
abandonment of their islands and the transference of the 
republic to Crete. On the 1st of January 1380 sails were 
seen in the distance, but as they approached they proved to 
be the long-expected fleet of Zeno. This sealed the fate of 
the Genoese in Chioggia. Every effort to force a passage, or 
to cut a canal through the low-lying barrier between them 
and the sea, was foiled by the vigilance of the besiegers, and 
on June 24 the whole of the Genoese force was compelled to 

By the fall of Chioggia Venice secured a magnificent and 
permanent triumph over her great Italian rival. The naval 
power of Genoa never recovered from the blow Decline of 
which it then received, and commercial superiority Genoa, 
could only be maintained by maritime ascendency. Chagrined 
at such a sudden change from anticipated triumph to 
humiliating defeat, distracted by domestic feuds, and per- 
petually endangered by the aggressive policy of Milan, the 
Genoese sought to escape from their troubles by accepting 
the suzerainty of Charles vi. of France, and admitting a 
French governor into the city (1396). For the next century 
Genoa enters into history mainly as an object of contention 
between France and Milan, and the greatness of the republic 
perished with its independence. 

But Venice had to pay more than one heavy penalty for 
her success. In the east the war of the two republics had been 
suicidal. In their mutual jealousy they had Venice after 
completely lost sight of their common interest in the war. 
upholding the Eastern Empire against the Turks. The 
struggle between Venice and Genoa was among the chief 
causes of the rapid growth of the Ottoman power, which was 
destined to be fatal to both the contending states. The 
more Venice gained in the east by the decline of Genoa the 
more she stood to lose to the advancing Turks ; and nearer 
home the struggle was costly to Venice. By the peace of 

174 European History, 1273- 1494 

Turin, in 1381, she had to confirm the cession of Dalmatia 
to Hungary, to resign the island of Tenedos, which had been 
the occasion of the war, and to give up Treviso and all other 
possessions on the mainland of Italy. All that she had gained 
in the contest with the Scaligers was lost again. It is true 
that Treviso was ceded to Leopold of Hapsburg in order to 
disappoint Francesco Carrara, whose aggrandisement would 
be much more dangerous to Venice. But Leopold had too 
much to engage his attention in Germany to be keenly 
interested in Italian territories. Five years later he sold 
Treviso, with Feltre and Ceneda, to Carrara, who thus 
obtained that control over the approaches to the Alpine 
passes which had driven Venice to make war on Mastino 
della Scala. For the second time Venice was forced by the 
same danger to take an active part in the politics of northern 
Italy. There was one obvious method of humbling the 
house of Carrara, and that was to invite the intervention of 
Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who required the annexation of 
Padua to complete his supremacy in Lombardy. On the 
other hand, such a policy involved the equally obvious 
danger that the lord of Milan would prove a far more 
formidable neighbour than the lord of Padua. To under- 
stand the course of action adopted by Venice in this dilemma 
it is necessary to turn to the history of Milan. 

At the beginning of the fourteenth century the lordship of 
Milan was disputed by two families, the della Torre and the 
The visconti Visconti. The supremacy of the latter was 
in Milan. established in 13 12 when Henry vn. conferred 
the title of imperial vicar upon Matteo Visconti. Of Matteo's 
numerous family four sons deserve mention: Galeazzo, 
Lucchino, and Giovanni, who all ruled in Milan, and Stefano, 
who died in 1327 without obtaining power, but whose children 
subsequently came to govern. Galeazzo, the eldest son, 
who succeeded his father in 1322, was deposed by Lewis the 
Bavarian in 1327, and died in the following year at the siege 
of Pistoia. His son Azzo recovered, in 1329, the sovereignty 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 175 

of Milan, and the title of imperial vicar. He proved a suc- 
cessful ruler, and by joining in the successive leagues against 
John of Bohemia and Mastino della Scala, he extended his 
authority over the greater part of central Lombardy. On his 
early death in 1339 his uncle Lucchino succeeded to the 
lordship over Milan, Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona, Lodi, 
Piacenza, Vercelli, Novara, and a less complete sovereignty 
over Pavia. To these dominions Lucchino added Parma in 
1346, and Tortona, Alessandria, and Asti in 1347. On the 
west these territories were bounded by the dominions of the 
Marquis of Montferrat and the Count of Savoy ; while on 
the east they were separated from Venice and the States of 
the Church by the possessions of four tyrants of lesser power — 
the Gonzagas in Mantua, the house of Este in Ferrara, the 
della Scala in Verona and Vicenza, and the Carrara in Padua. 
On the death of Lucchino in 1349 his dominions passed to 
his younger brother Giovanni, who had entered the Church, 
and had received from Benedict xn. the archbishopric of 
Milan. In spite of his ecclesiastical position Giovanni did 
not scruple to aggrandise himself at the expense of the 
Papacy. In 1350 he induced the Pepoli, who had made 
themselves lords of Bologna, to cede that city to him. This 
advance from Lombardy into central Italy made a profound 
impression on contemporaries, and completely altered the 
position of the Visconti. It marked the beginning of a 
prolonged quarrel with the Papacy, and it alarmed Florence 
and the Tuscan communes for their independence. In 1353 
the defeat of Genoa in her naval war with Venice led to the 
temporary submission of the Ligurian republic to Milanese 
rule. This was the last great triumph of the militant 
archbishop, who died suddenly in 1354. 

The house of Visconti was now represented by the three 
sons of Stefano : Matteo, Bernabo, and Galeazzo. They 
agreed to divide their uncle's dominions between them, but 
to keep the two chief cities of Milan and Genoa under their 
joint rule. Matteo, who was vicious and debauched even 

176 European History, 1273- 1494 

beyond the standard of the Visconti, was assassinated by order 
of his brothers in 1355, and Bernabo and Galeazzo divided 
Bemabo and ms snare between them. On the whole their joint 
Galeazzo rule was wonderfully harmonious, though in later 
life they fell rather apart and adopted different 
residences — Bernabo in Milan and Galeazzo in Pavia. Few 
pictures are more repulsive than that which has been handed 
down of the domestic government of the two brothers. In 
the midst of lavish profusion and ostentatious patronage of 
men of letters, they ruled their subjects with a rod of iron. 
State criminals, instead of immediate execution, were publicly 
tortured for forty days according to a fixed daily programme. 
The game laws were enforced with atrocious severity even 
for those days. A peasant who had killed a hare was given 
to Bernabo's hounds to be devoured by them. Yet these 
bloodthirsty despots, belonging to an upstart family and 
without any recognised or legal title in their dominions, were 
allowed to ally themselves by intermarriage with the greatest 
dynasties in Europe. They were the richest rulers of their 
time, and their wealth induced even kings to shut their eyes 
both to the cruelty of their rule and to their ignoble origin. 
Bernabo married his daughter Verde or Virida to the Leopold 
of Hapsburg who afterwards fell in the battle of Sempach. 
Galeazzo obtained for his son, Gian Galeazzo, the hand of 
Isabella, daughter of John of France, with the county of 
Vertus in Champagne ; and his daughter Violante was married 
to Lionel of Clarence, the third son of Edward III. of 

In spite of these alliances, which gave to the Visconti a 
unique position among the despots of northern Italy, the 
Milanese rule of the two brothers was by no means unin- 
reverses. terruptedly successful. Genoa revolted in 1356 
and recovered its freedom. Cardinal Albornoz, who was 
engaged in restoring papal authority in the Papal States, 
organised a league among the northern despots, the Gonzagas, 
the della Scala, the Marquis of Montferrat, and all who 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 177 

were jealous of Visconti ascendency. Pavia recovered its 
independence for two years under the encouragement of a 
republican monk, Jacopo Bussolari, but was compelled to 
surrender to Galeazzo in 1359. Asti, Novara, Como, and 
other western towns were for a time wrested from Visconti 
rule by the Marquis of Montferrat. A more serious loss 
was that of Bologna. Giovanni d'Oleggio, who had been 
appointed governor of the city by Giovanni Visconti, refused 
to acknowledge the authority of the latter's nephews. When 
Bernabo endeavoured to compel his submission in 1360, 
Oleggio baulked him by surrendering Bologna to Albornoz. 
The successes of the papal legate and the return of Urban v. 
to Rome seemed for a moment to render hopeless any 
extension of the rule of the Visconti beyond the limits of 
Lombardy. But Albornoz died in 1368, Urban returned to 
Avignon in 1370, and a general revolt in Romagna against 
papal rule restored to the Visconti the advantages which for 
a moment they had lost. It was not, however, Bernabo 
Visconti who profited by these changes, but a new and more 
famous member of the family. 

In 1378 — an eventful year in Italian history — Galeazzo 
Visconti died, leaving his share of the family dominions to 
his only son, Gian Galeazzo. Fearing the ambition Gian 
of Bernabo, who might well desire to provide for Galeazzo 
his numerous children at his nephew's expense, Vlsconti - 
the young prince ruled in Pavia with such ostentation of 
piety and moderation that his uncle deemed him a harmless 
simpleton. Having thus disarmed all suspicion, Gian 
Galeazzo decoyed his uncle from Milan to a friendly inter- 
view, consigned him to a prison which he never left alive, 
and reunited the territories of Bernabo with his own (1385). 
To the cruelty and unscrupulousness of his predecessors, 
Gian Galeazzo added a dogged resolution and a capacity for 
intrigue which enabled him to attain a height of power 
beyond their most sanguine dreams. Personally he was so 
timid that a sudden sound excited a terror which he could 

178 European History, 1 273- 1494 

not conceal. But his lack of courage — an unusual defect 
among Italian tyrants — proved no bar to his ambition. His 
wealth enabled him to attract to his service most of the ablest 
condottieri of the age, and to purchase from them a fidelity 
which was quite uncommon. Himself the husband of a French 
princess, he drew closer the connection with France by marry- 
ing his daughter, Valentina, to Charles vi.'s brother, Louis of 
Orleans (1389). The bride brought to the Orleans family 
not only the town of Asti as her dowry, but also an eventual 
claim to the succession in Milan which was fraught with most 
momentous consequences to Europe. A few years later 
Gian Galea/zo succeeded in removing one great defect in the 
dignity of the Visconti by obtaining from Wenzel, king of the 
Romans, the formal creation in his favour of a hereditary 
duchy of Milan (1395). 

The great ambition of Gian Galeazzo Visconti was to 
found a kingdom of northern Italy, and circumstances were 
so extraordinarily favourable that he very nearly 
succeeded in gaining his object. The two great 
Guelf powers, Naples and the Papacy, might naturally be 
expected to oppose such a design. But the Papacy was in 
the throes of the Schism, and Naples was the scene of civil 
strife between the two houses of Anjou. Of the three lead- 
ing republics whose independence was directly threatened, 
Genoa was powerless. Florence was hampered by the 
jealousy of Siena, Perugia, and other communes in Tuscany 
and Romagna, while Venice had for the moment more im- 
mediate enemies than Milan, and might be bribed to aid in 
their destruction. The empire was in the feeble hands of 
Wenzel, France in the equally feeble hands of Charles vi., 
and both princes were allied with the Visconti. There 
seemed to be hardly any danger either of foreign intervention 
or of efficient resistance in Italy. 

The first task which Gian Galeazzo undertook was the 
reduction of eastern Lombardy. A quarrel between Francesco 
Carrara and Antonio della Scala gave him his opportunity 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 179 

He offered his aid to both princes, but ultimately concluded 
a treaty with Carrara in 1387 by which Verona was to go 
to himself and Vicenza to Padua. Both cities n . , 

Conquest of 

were easily taken by Gian Galeazzo's troops, and Verona and 
the once famous house of della Scala was ruined. Padua> 
But the lord of Milan kept Vicenza as well as Verona, and 
Carrara perceived too late that he had only hastened his own 
downfall. Venice was eager to punish the neighbour who 
had done all he could for her destruction in the wars both 
with Hungary and with Genoa. In spite of the obvious 
danger of aggrandising Milan, Venice agreed to a partition 
of the territories of Carrara. Resistance to such a combina- 
tion was hopeless ; Padua was compelled to surrender to 
Milanese rule, and Treviso and the marches were handed 
over to Venice (1388). The supremacy of Gian Galeazzo in 
Lombardy was now uncontested. The remaining princes of 
Savoy, Montferrat, Mantua, and Ferrara, were all, for one 
reason or another, his humble vassals. 

In 1389 Gian Galeazzo was free to turn his attention to 
Tuscany and Romagna, where his ambition seemed to be 
equally favoured by internal dissensions. Siena, Warwith 
Perugia, and a number of petty lords in Romagna Florence, 
joined in a league against Florence, whose fall I39 °" 1 - 
would have assured the supremacy of Milan. But the 
Florentine oligarchy served the republic faithfully in this 
hour of danger. Sir John Hawkwood was taken into the 
service of Florence, and the Count of Armagnac was bribed 
to bring a body of French troops to aid the republic. Vis- 
conti had engaged the most eminent Italian leaders, Jacopo 
dal Verme, Facino Cane, and others, and the numerical 
superiority of their troops might have gained an ultimate 
victory. Armagnac was defeated and slain, and this disaster 
compelled Hawkwood, who had invaded Lombardy as far as 
the Adda, to conduct a difficult and hazardous retreat. But 
the balance was turned against Milan by a wholly unexpected 
reverse in the north. The younger Francesco Carrara, who 

i8o European History, 1273- 1494 

had been imprisoned with his father after the fall of Padua, 
succeeded in escaping. After hairbreadth escapes and the 
most romantic wanderings over Europe, he succeeded in 
getting supplies of money from Florence and of men from 
Bavaria. With a small body of followers he entered Padua 
by the bed of the Brenta in June 1390. The citizens wel- 
comed his return, and the rule of Milan was overthrown. 
This revolution in Padua was a great blow to Gian Galeazzo. 
It compelled him to withdraw part of his forces from Tuscany, 
and in 1392 he decided to postpone his southern enterprise 
and to conclude a treaty. Padua was left in the hands of 
Francesco Carrara on condition of paying tribute to Milan ; 
Florence was to abstain from intervention in Lombardy, and 
Gian Galeazzo from intervention in Tuscany. 

The treaty of 1392 was followed by a few years of troubled 
peace, broken by only a brief renewal of hostilities in 1397, 
Successes which was ended by another treaty in 1398. 
of Gian During these years Gian Galeazzo continued to 

prosecute his schemes by diplomacy and intrigue. 
In 1394 a revolution was effected in Pisa and the lordship of 
the city acquired by Jacopo d'Appiano, who was notoriously 
in the pay of Milan. Five years later, Appiano's son com- 
pleted the bargain by handing over Pisa to Gian Galeazzo in 
return for the principality of Piombino. Genoa only escaped 
a similar fate by a voluntary submission to France in 1396. 
Siena in 1399, Perugia and Assisi in 1400, sought to escape 
the disorders of faction by accepting the rule of Milan. 
Everywhere republican liberties seemed destined to give way 
to the advance of despotism. Paolo Guinigi, with the help 
of Milanese gold, made himself lord of Lucca in 1400, and in 
the next year Giovanni Bentivoglio became the master of 
Bologna. Slowly but surely the toils were being drawn round 
Florence, and the league which she had formed for the defence 
of liberty was wholly broken up. Hawkwood had died in 
1394, and no leader of equal merit could be found except in the 
service of Milan. A momentary prospect of relief was offered 

Italy in the Fourteenth Century 181 

when the princes of Germany in 1400 deposed the incapable 
Wenzel and gave the kingship of the Romans to the Elector 
Palatine, Rupert in. Rupert undertook to invade Italy and 
to crush the upstart ruler of Milan whom his rival had raised 
to the rank of duke. But the German troops were no match 
either in skill or in discipline for the mercenaries of Italy, and 
were utterly routed at Brescia by Jacopo dal Verme (October 
24, 1 401). The last hope of Florence disappeared when 
Giovanni Bentivoglio, who had turned against Milan, was 
compelled to surrender, and the Bolognese welcomed the 
substitution of a foreign for a native despot His death 
(July, 1402). But death intervened to thwart an in I + 02 - 
ambition which human opposition had failed to check. On 
September 3, 1402, Gian Galeazzo was carried off by the 
plague at the age of fifty-five. The kingdom of northern 
Italy perished with the man who had practically created it. 



Decline of German Monarchy — Dangers to Germany — Policy of Charles IV. 
— Return of the Papacy to Rome and election of Urban VI. — Election of 
Clement vn. and beginning of -the Schism— The German towns and 
their hostility to the nobles— Weakness of Wenzel— The town-war— 
Peace of Eger — The Succession to Hungary and Poland — The Jagellon 
House is established in Poland, and Sigismund in Hungary — Opposition 
to Wenzel in Germany — Troubles in Bohemia — France and the Schism — 
Meeting of Wenzel and Charles vi.— A Schism is created in the Empire 
— The idea of a General Council — Negotiations between the rival Popes 
—Europe and the Schism— The Council of Pisa— The Triple Schism- 
Alexander v. and his successor John xxin.— Death of Rupert of the 
Pale -Election of Sigismund— Jobst— Death of Jobst— Second election 
of Sigismund— Sigismund and Pope John xxin.— Summons of the 
Council of Constance. 

With the year 1378 begins a period of anarchy and confusion 
characteristic of the decay of an old organisation, and the 
inevitable precursor of a new system. In that year died 
Gregory XI. and Charles iv., the representatives of secular 
and ecclesiastical authority as conceived in the Middle Ages. 
Of the two claimants to universal rule, the Papacy and the 
Empire, the former was immeasurably the stronger. It 
possessed a large revenue and an admirable administrative 
system. The Empire had neither. Its claims to rule ovei 
Christendom were no longer acknowledged. Even in Italy 
its suzerainty was recognised as a legal form, but in actual 
politics little regard was paid to it. And the German 
monarchy had fallen with the grandiose and unreal dignity 
to which it was attached. The imperial domains had been 
seized or squandered. The central administration and 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 183 

jurisdiction were hardly existent. Such authority as the king 
possessed rested upon the territorial powers which he held 
independently of his kingship. His nominal Dcc i ineo f 
vassals — ecclesiastics, lay princes, knights and German 
cities — enjoyed practical independence. If they monarc y * 
quarrelled with each other, they fought the quarrel out as if 
they had been independent states. If the Emperor intervened, 
it was as a partisan rather than as an arbiter. There was 
no parliamentary organisation, as in England, where the 
interests of the various estates could find effective expression. 
There was no overwhelming national sentiment, such as was 
created by the Hundred Years' War in France, to enable the 
monarchy to gain ascendency and to crush rival pretensions. 
The dangers of this growing disunion were sufficiently 
obvious in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. It seemed 
almost inevitable that Germany would lose all Dangers to 
semblance of a state, and that as it fell to pieces Germany- 
foreign powers would seize upon the fragments. In the 
south-east the Turks were gradually establishing themselves 
on the ruins of the Byzantine Empire, and threatened to 
advance up the valley of the Danube into the heart of 
southern Germany. Further north a powerful Slav kingdom 
was erected in Poland under the House of Jagellon, whose 
mission seemed to be to annihilate the progress which German 
inlluences had effected by means of the Teutonic knights. 
The Slav kingdom of Bohemia, which under the House of 
Luxemburg had become almost the capital of Germany, 
revolted against the rule and the religion of its kings, and the 
Hussite victories revealed more clearly than any other single 
event the rottenness and impotence of the existing system 
in Germany. In the north, the Union of Kalmar brought 
the three Scandinavian states under a single ruler, and threat- 
ened to deprive the German Hansa of the ascendency in 
northern waters which Liibeck and its associates had gained 
by their victory over Waldemar III. of Denmark. In the 
south, the Swiss Confederation was tending to free itself from 

184 European History \ 1273- 1494 

even nominal dependence on the Empire, and there were 
other leagues in Swabia and on the Rhine which were not 
unlikely to follow its example. In the west, German weakness 
had already allowed France to swallow a great part of the 
old kingdom of Aries, and though France was for a time 
crippled by the war with England and by internal dissensions, 
a new and more pressing danger was created by the rapid 
growth of the Valois dukes of Burgundy, who absorbed one 
imperial fief after another, and at one time almost succeeded 
in building up a middle kingdom along the Rhine, which 
would have excluded Germany from all real influence on 
the development of western Europe. 

Charles iv., the greatest ruler of the fourteenth century, 
had clearly grasped both the dangers of the situation and 
Policy of the only remedies which could be applied. 
Charles iv. Either Germany must be organised as a federa- 
tion which should combine some measure of local independ- 
ence with joint action for common interests, or a single 
family must collect such an aggregate of territories in its 
hands as might become the nucleus of a new territorial 
monarchy. Charles had kept both expedients before him. 
He had laid the foundations of a federal organisation by 
conferring corporate powers and privileges upon the electors. 
At the same time he had made the Luxemburg family the 
strongest in Germany, and had placed it in a position to do 
for Germany what the Capets had done for France. It is a 
common error to maintain that Charles iv.'s policy was a 
complete failure ; that what he meant to be a temporary ex- 
pedient proved permanent, while his ultimate aims were 
never achieved. It is true that a territorial monarchy was not 
established, and that such unity as Germany has since 
possessed has been federal rather than monarchical. But 
what really held Germany together from the fifteenth to the 
eighteenth century was not the federal system, but the terri- 
torial power of the house of Hapsburg. And that territorial 
power was, in the main, founded by Charles iv. It is as 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 1 85 

the heirs of the Luxemburg family that the Hapsburgs 
assumed their unique position in Germany. Charles iv. 
achieved more lasting results than he has been credited with, 
but the fruits of his policy were gathered by others than his 
own descendants. 

One very obvious source of weakness to Charles iv. had 
been his failure to control the ecclesiastical system, owing 
to the residence of the Popes at Avignon. Returnof 
Charles himself had gained the German mon- the Papacy 
archy to some extent as the papal nominee ; but to Romc - 
he had found it necessary to resist papal intervention in 
Germany as long as that intervention was dictated by a 
foreign power. It was obviously Charles's duty and interest 
to restore the Papacy to Rome, where alone it could exercise 
impartial authority. He had induced Urban v. to transfer 
his residence to Rome, but his hopes had been disappointed 
by the Pope's speedy return to the banks of the Rhone. 
Once again his influence had been successful, and in 1377 
Gregory xi. had left Avignon for the Eternal City. But both 
Pope and cardinals found Rome too turbulent to be an 
agreeable abode, and they were preparing for another flitting 
when the death of Gregory compelled the conclave to meet 
for a new election within the Vatican. The mob Election of 
surrounded the palace and demanded the choice Urban vi. t 
of a Roman Pope. The majority of the cardinals I37a 
were Frenchmen, but they were divided among themselves, 
and they were afraid of the violence of the citizens. As a 
compromise, they chose a Neapolitan, the archbishop of Bari, 
who took the name of Urban vi. So little confidence had 
the cardinals that their decision would please the people, 
that they escaped in disguise and left the news of the election 
to become known gradually. This fact is sufficient to prove 
that the election was not altogether compulsory, and as soon 
as the mob had shown itself acquiescent, the cardinals were 
unanimous in acknowledging Urban. 

But this unanimity was very short-lived. Urban vi. had never 

1 86 European History », 1273- 1494 

been a cardinal, and was personally unknown to most of his 
electors. He proved to be a man of violent temper and rough 
Election of manners, eager to exercise his unexpected autho- 
ciementvn. r j tVj an( j re ckless of opposition or advice. The 
cardinals, who had hoped for a pliant and grateful tool, found 
themselves confronted with a master who announced that he 
would begin the reform of the Church with its chief digni- 
taries. He silenced remonstrances by the rudest sarcasms, 
and declared that he would never return to Avignon. Dis- 
appointed and indignant, many of the cardinals quitted 
Rome for Anagni. Encouraged by the support of France 
and Naples, they declared that Urban's election was invalid 
on account of the intimidation of the mob, and on September 
20, 1378, proceeded to elect Robert of Geneva, a militant 
ecclesiastic who had succeeded Cardinal Albornoz as com- 
mander of the papal troops in Italy. The Antipope assumed 
the name of Clement vii., and his election commenced a 
schism in the Church which lasted for forty years. 

Charles iv. had watched these events in Italy with the 
greatest chagrin. He gave unhesitating support to Urban vi., 
and urged the European princes to resist the revival of 
French dictation in the Church. But his death on Novem- 
ber 29 removed the one statesman who might possibly have 
checked the progress of the schism. His son and successor, 
Wenzel, pursued his father's policy, but he was too young, 
and, as it proved, too incapable, to exercise the same influence. 
He threatened Joanna 1. of Naples with the imperial ban if 
she did not give up the cause of Clement ; and this threat was 
the more formidable because the Neapolitans themselves 
favoured their fellow-countryman Urban. But the only result 
was to aggravate the schism. Finding that residence on 
Neapolitan soil was no longer safe, Clement vii. and his 
The schism in car dinals left Italy for Avignon. There Clement 
the Church, was secure of French support, and before long 
1378.1417. ^ e wag a j SQ recognised by the Spanish kingdoms, 
Castile, Aragon, and Navarre. Germany, England, and most 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 187 

of the northern kingdoms gave their allegiance to Urban vi., 
and after his death to his successors, Boniface ix. (1389- 
1404), Innocent vn. (1404-5), and Gregory xn., elected in 
1405. Clement vn. lived till 1394, when he was succeeded 
by a Spaniard, Peter de Luna, who took the name of Bene- 
dict XIII. 

The schism in the Church was by no means the only 
difficulty which Wenzel had to face. In Germany, as in 
other countries, the feudal system, in which social The German 
and political relations depended upon the tenure towns, 
of land, had been modified by the growth of towns, whose 
interests lay in industry rather than in agriculture, while their 
desire to maintain peace conflicted with the military habits 
and traditions of the noble landholders. In England and 
in France the monarchy had advanced its own interests by 
taking the rising towns under its patronage and by aiding 
the growth of municipal self-government. At one time, 
under Lewis the Bavarian, a similar policy had seemed pos- 
sible in Germany. At the diet of Frankfort in 1344 the speaker 
of the town deputies had used the memorable words : civitates 
non possunt stare nisi cum imperioi imperii lesio earum est 
destructio. But Charles iv., guided by his experiences in 
Italy, had distrusted the towns : he had suspected them of 
aiming at independence rather than the strengthening of the 
monarchy : and in the Golden Bull he had deliberately 
opposed the development of the towns while he had conceded 
great powers to the electors. But his policy in this respect 
had not been altogether successful even during his own life- 
time. The Hanse towns in the north had risen to the zenith 
of their power in 1370, and Charles had found it politic to 
conciliate them by a personal visit to Lubeck. In the south 
the Swabian League had been formed under the leadership of 
Ulm, had defeated the warlike Count of Wurtemburg, and 
had compelled the old emperor to allow them the right of 
union, of which they had been deprived by the Golden 

1 88 European History, 1273- 1494 

The death of Charles iv. and the accession of the feeble 
and self-indulgent Wenzel enabled the towns to take bolder 
Hostility of measures. In 1381 an alliance was concluded at 
towns and Speier between the Swabian League and the towns 
nobles. on t k e Rhine; and its object was not merely 

mutual defence, but 'to scourge and punish their mutual 
enemies.' The league thus formed contained seventy- two 
towns, and could supply a military force of ten thousand men- 
at-arms. And this force was by no means their only or their 
most effective weapon. By granting a modified form of 
citizenship (Pfahlburgerthum), they annexed whole villages 
in their neighbourhood, thus depriving the lords at once of 
subjects, revenue, and territory. If the landholder tried to 
recover his loss, he only devastated his own property, while the 
offending citizens were safe within walls that until the general 
use of gunpowder were almost impregnable. It was no 
wonder that the princes resented the growth of a power 
which seemed likely to rival their own. But the class which 
was most immediately threatened by the towns was that of 
the knights or lesser tenants-in-chief. Their chief occupations 
were warfare and pillage, and the towns were resolute in 
putting a stop to practices which ruined their trade. Single- 
handed the knights were powerless against the civic forces, 
and they were driven to form leagues, such as the famous 
League of the Lion, for their own defence. There was 
little love lost between the knights and the princes, but class 
prejudices and associations tended to draw them together 
against a foe whom they both detested and contemned. 
The materials were prepared for a great war of classes in 

Wenzel had neither the ability nor the experience to enable 
him to deal successfully with such a problem, and his attention 
was also occupied by family affairs in the east and by the 
quarrel in the Church. His only expedient was to form 
associations for the maintenance of the peace in which both 
princes and cities should be included. By this means he 

The Schisms in the Papacy, and Empire 189 

succeeded in postponing but not in preventing a war. The 
quarrel of Leopold of Hapsburg with the Swiss precipitated 
matters. The Swiss confederation differed from the Swabian 
and Rhenish leagues in that it included village communities 
of peasants as well as towns. When in 1385 an alliance with 
the Swabian League was proposed, the original forest cantons 
refused to take any part in the matter, and only the towns, 
Bern, Zurich, Zug and Luzern, were parties to the compact. 
The battle of Sempach was won mainly by the peasants, and 
the Swabian towns sent no assistance. But the fall of Leo- 
pold of Hapsburg, the champion of princely interests, was 
hailed as a triumph by the towns, and had the natural effect 
of increasing their pride and pretensions. In The town 
1387 the war which had been on the verge of war, 1387-9. 
outbreak since 1379 at last began. There was little that was 
notable in the actual hostilities, except their extent. The 
war was merely a simultaneous explosion of the numerous 
feuds which had often been waged before between a noble 
and a too powerful town. As long as the citizens stood on 
the defensive, they were successful, and the armies of the 
princes and knights were repulsed from their walls. Em- 
boldened by these successes, they determined to leave their 
walls and to invade the territories of their old enemy, Eber- 
nard of Wiirtemburg. But the German towns had no such 
soldiers as the peasants of the Alps, and no such geographical 
advantages as the Swiss had. In the open field their forces 
were cut to pieces by the feudal cavalry. On August 24, 
1388, the united troops of the Swabian League suffered a 
severe defeat at Doffingen. The weakness of their position 
was now apparent. They could resist aggression, but they 
could not themselves take the offensive. The Rhenish towns 
were defeated with great loss at Worms, and Niirnberg, the 
latest and the most important recruit of the Swabian League, 
was reduced to submission by the Burggraf. 

But the triumph of the nobles was incomplete. Though 
they had been victorious in the field they were as unable as 

igo European History , 127 3-1494 

before to carry on siege operations. Their defensive strength 
enabled the towns to negotiate the peace of Eger (1389) 
Peace of on fairly equal terms. By this treaty all leagues 
Eger, 1389. an( j unions W ere to be abrogated on both sides. 
All future disputes between the towns and the nobles were 
to be settled by arbitration. For this purpose four com- 
missions were appointed in Swabia, Franconia, Bavaria, 
and the Rhenish provinces. Each commission was to consist 
of four nobles, four citizens, and a president to be appointed 
by the Emperor. It is obvious that the towns, though de- 
feated, had not been wholly unsuccessful, and had secured a 
position of equality with their opponents. But the real im- 
portance of the war is the discredit which it cast upon the 
monarchy. Wenzel had been unable either to prevent the 
war or to influence its course. And the organisation created 
for the maintenance of the peace was a local and representa- 
tive organisation, in which the central authority had little 
more than a nominal share. 

While Germany was convulsed with the town war, the House 
of Luxemburg had made an important territorial acquisition in 
. the east. Lewis the Great, king of Hungary and 
in Hungary Poland, the head of the original House of Anjou 
and Poland. in Naples, had died in 1380. He left a widow, 
Elizabeth, and two daughters, Maria and Hedwig. In spite 
of the natural prejudices against female rule, he had induced 
his subjects to recognise his daughters' claim to the succes- 
sion. If they were passed over, the nearest male heir was 
Charles of Durazzo, 1 who was engaged in a struggle for the 
crown of Naples with Louis of Anjou, brother of Charles v. 
of France. Maria, the elder of the two daughters, was 
betrothed to Sigismund, the second son of Charles iv. She 
was accepted by the Hungarians, and Sigismund was eager 
that his future wife should also gain the crown of Poland, 
But the Poles, influenced by the growing Slav sentiment, 
were unwilling to continue the connection with Hungary or 
1 See Genealogical Table I, in Appendix, p. 542. 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 191 

to accept a German ruler. They insisted upon electing the 
younger sister Hedwig, and upon choosing a husband for 
ner. Hedwig was sent to Poland in 1385, and in the next 
year was married to Jagello, prince of Lithuania, who was 
baptized as a Christian under the name of Ladislas. The 
union of Poland and Lithuania under the Jagellon house 
founded a powerful Slav state to the north-east of Germany, 
and led to the downfall of the Teutonic Knights, who could 
no longer claim to conduct a crusade when their foes had 
accepted Christianity (see p. 459) 

Meanwhile Sigismund, disappointed in Poland, came near 
to losing Hungary as well. Elizabeth, the late king's widow, 
unwilling to surrender authority to an ambitious 
son-in-law, tried to break off Maria's engagement, accession in 
and to bring about a marriage with a French Hungary, 
prince. But her schemes were suddenly check- X3 7 ' 
mated by a revolt of the Hungarian nobles, who offered the 
crown to Charles of Durazzo, now established on the throne 
of Naples. Charles accepted the offer, and landed in Dal- 
matia in 1385. This unexpected danger forced Elizabeth 
to appeal for assistance to Sigismund, whose long-delayed 
marriage was hastily solemnised in October 1385. The 
bridegroom hurried off to raise troops for the defence of his 
wife's crown, and among his expedients for gaining money 
he pawned a great part of Brandenburg to his cousin Jobst 
of Moravia. Meanwhile events in Hungary moved with 
kaleidoscopic rapidity. Charles of Naples, after having 
apparently secured his kingdom, was assassinated by the 
emissaries of Elizabeth in February 1386. Elizabeth re- 
covered authority in her daughter's name, and at once 
quarrelled with her son-in-law, whose assistance seemed to 
be no longer needed. But the nobles of Croatia determined 
to avenge the death of Charles. They seized Elizabeth and 
Maria, and carried them off to the fortress of Novigrad. When 
the fortress was besieged, the former was put to death, and 
Maria was threatened with the same fate. In the general 

192 European History \ 1273- 1494 

anarchy, the Hungarian nobles determined to offer the crown 
to Sigismund, who was crowned in 1387, and soon afterwards 
succeeded in effecting his wife's release. His accession added 
a new province to the Luxemburg possessions, and at the 
same time founded the dynastic connection between Hungary 
and Bohemia which continued till 19 18. 

The acquisition of Hungary did nothing to strengthen the 
position of the House of Luxemburg in Germany, while it 
Opposition to mcreasea< the jealousy with which its overgrown 
Wenzeiin territories were regarded. The western princes, 
Germany. representing the original German duchies of 
Bavaria, Franconia, and Swabia, resented the transference of 
power to a dynasty whose possessions lay mostly in the east, 
and some of them outside Germany altogether. The House 
of Wittelsbach, from whose hands Charles iv. had snatched 
the imperial dignity, were the foremost in raising this outcry 
of the west against the east. And the malcontents were not 
without more serious grounds of complaint. Wenzel had 
done nothing to terminate the ecclesiastical schism. His 
feeble and vacillating conduct during the town war had dis- 
gusted the princes ; and after the peace of Eger he had practi- 
cally withdrawn from German politics, and had left the 
kingdom in a state of anarchy. Even in the east he in- 
curred difficulties and humiliations which brought discredit 
upon his person and his office. 

Charles iv. had had two sources of strength which his 
successor entirely lacked. He could rely upon the enthusi- 
Troubiesin astic loyalty of the Bohemians, and he was 
Bohemia. t ne undisputed head of the Luxemburg family. 
Neither of his brothers had ever ventured to oppose his will. 
But under Wenzel Bohemia enjoyed neither the prestige nor 
the good government which had endeared Charles to his 
subjects, while there was a growing feeling that it was degrad- 
ing to a Slav people to be ruled by a German prince and by 
German methods. The sentiment of race which had led 
Poland to unite with Lithuania under Jagello was beginning 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 193 

to be powerful in Bohemia, in spite of its long and intimate 
association with Germany. Wenzel himself was not personally 
unpopular. The very coarseness of his character and manners, 
which degenerated in time into brutish gluttony and drunken- 
ness, seems to have evoked a rude sympathy, at any rate 
among the lower classes. But his reckless passion led him 
into gross political blunders, his unconcealed contempt alien- 
ated the clergy, while his patronage of unworthy favourites 
exasperated the nobles. A series of disorderly revolts began 
in 1387, and followed each other in rapid succession. And 
Wenzel's kinsmen, instead of assisting the head of their house, 
rather added to his embarrassments. The evil genius of the 
family was his cousin, Jobst of Moravia, a .man who antici- 
pated the Italians of the next century in his selfish cunning 
and his complete disregard of moral rules. Jobst had already 
gained Brandenburg by trading on the pecuniary difficulties 
of Sigismund, and he hoped by discrediting Wenzel to obtain 
for himself the Bohemian and the imperial crowns. In 1394 
he was at the head of a baronial revolt, in which Wenzel was 
seized and imprisoned by the rebels. The most loyal member 
of the family, John of Gorlitz, who succeeded in releasing 
his brother, was treated by Wenzel with gross ingratitude, 
and died in 1396, not without grave suspicions of poison. 
Sigismund, though absorbed in the pursuit of his own ends, 
was less cynically selfish than Jobst, and showed some regard 
for the dignity and interests of his house. But he was pre- 
vented from giving Wenzel any real assistance or guidance 
by the necessity of defending his own kingdom of Hungary 
against the Turks. In 1396 he led a large crusading army 
to be cut to pieces by the forces of Bajazet 1. on the field of 
Nicopolis. But for the advance of the Tartars under Timour, 
eastern Europe would have been at the mercy of the victorious 

The scandals in Bohemia and the quarrels among the 
Luxemburg princes seem to have convinced the western 
princes that Wenzel was as little to be feared as respected. 


194 European History \ 1273- 1494 

He had given them a new grievance in 1395 Dv granting the 
title of Duke of Milan and thus raising to princely rank the 
aggressive Ghibelline leader in northern Italy, Gian Galeazzo 
Visconti. And three years later he gave them a pretext for 
throwing off their allegiance by his action with regard to the 
schism in the Church. From the first the University of Paris, 
then by far the most influential university in Europe, had set 
France and itself against a schism which the French govern- 
theBchism. ment h a( j done muc h to bring about. At first 
the king had silenced the university, but gradually he had 
come to share its views. France found it extremely expensive 
to support a schismatic Pope who had little but French con- 
tributions to look to for the maintenance of himself and his 
court. Popular sympathy was cooled when a Spaniard, Peter 
de Luna, was chosen to succeed the French Pope Clement vn. 
Under the guidance of the university leaders, Pierre d'Ailly 
and Jean Gerson, Charles vi. and his ministers determined to 
end the schism by 'the way of neutrality,' i.e. by withdrawing 
allegiance from the two rival Popes, and thus forcing them to 
abdicate, when a new election could restore unity to Christen- 
dom. To give effect to this scheme, it was necessary to secure 
simultaneous action on the part of the supporters of the 
Roman Pope Boniface ix., and of these the most exalted was 
the King of the Romans. Wenzel seems to have inherited 
some of the traditional attachment to France of the Luxem- 
Meeting of ^urg dynasty, and he had quarrelled with Boniface 
Wenzel and about the appointment of an Archbishop of Mainz. 
Charles vi. rp^ twQ k m g Sj ^ one a conn rmed drunkard and 

the other subject to fits of insanity, met at Rheims in 1398 to 
discuss the most pressing problem of the age. Their personal 
intercourse cannot have been very edifying. On one occasion 
Wenzel was invited to a banquet with the French king, and 
when the Dukes of Burgundy and Berri came to escort the 
guest, they found that he had already dined, and was lying 
under the table in a drunken sleep. But the interview re- 
sulted in a more or less formal agreement that France should 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 195 

extort the resignation of Benedict, while Wenzel was to do 
the same by Boniface. 

The Elector Palatine had already warned Wenzel that if he 
withdrew his allegiance from the Pope who had confirmed 
his title, his subjects would no longer be bound schism in the 
to him. The interview at Rheims had the effect E «np ire . moo. 
of hurrying the execution of a plan which had been for some 
time in contemplation. Boniface ix., though careful to avoid 
committing himself to the conspiring princes, was not unwill- 
ing to checkmate Wenzel by encouraging his opponents in 
Germany. Of the seven electors, two, representing Bohemia 
and Brandenburg, belonged to the Luxemburg house, while 
the Duke of Saxony held aloof. The other four, whose 
territories bordered on the Rhine, met in 1400 at Lahnstein, 
decreed the deposition of Wenzel, and elected one of their 
own number, the Count Palatine, Rupert in. But the Rhenish 
electors, like the recalcitrant cardinals in 1378, had no power 
to enforce their decree of deposition, and the only result of 
their action was to create a schism in the Empire side by side 
with the schism in the Church. 

Rupert was a far wiser ruler and a far better man than his 
rival, and if to his other virtues he had added the slightest 
military capacity, he might have gained a com- The rival 
plete triumph. Wenzel continued to quarrel with Kings of the 
his brother and his cousins, and during a revolt Romans - 
in Hungary Sigismund was for five months a prisoner in the 
hands of his barons. If Ladislas of Naples had not been 
occupied in his contest with Louis II. of Anjou, he might 
have enforced the claims of the House of Durazzo to the 
Hungarian crown, as his father had done in 1385. But the 
difficulties of the Luxemburg princes were not enough to 
enable Rupert to profit by them. He invaded Bohemia, and 
actually reached Prague, where Jobst and the malcontent 
nobles offered him their support. But at the first slight 
reverse he withdrew, and his opportunity was lost when Sigis- 
mund escaped from captivity and came to govern Bohemia for 

196 European History, 1 273- 1494 

his incompetent brother. Then Rupert tried to obtain an 
indirect triumph by crushing Wenzel's protigt, Gian Galeazzo 
Visconti. He hoped thus to restore German influence in 
Italy, which the two last Luxemburg rulers had allowed to 
decay, and also to receive the imperial crown from the grati- 
tude of Boniface ix. Florence and all the opponents of the 
Milanese despot promised to aid him with men and money. 
But his Italian expedition was even more unsuccessful than 
his invasion of Bohemia. His army was utterly routed by 
the mercenary forces of Gian Galeazzo under the walls of 
Brescia (October 21, 1401), and he returned to Germany the 
laughing-stock of Europe. His failure encouraged Wenzel 
to plan a journey to Italy to obtain his long-delayed corona- 
tion, and Sigismund undertook to escort him. Boniface ix., 
who was now committed to the cause of Rupert, sought to 
foil the scheme by urging Ladislas of Naples to an invasion 
of Hungary, which proved unsuccessful. But the project was 
perforce abandoned on the news of the death of Gian Galeazzo 
(September 3, 1402). From this time the rival Kings of the 
Romans abstained from direct attacks on each other, and 
contented themselves with their respective obedience, the one 
in the west and the other in the east. Germany was so 
accustomed to dispense with any active exercise of the royal 
authority that the schism created little excitement and less 

The schism in the Church was far more important to 
Europe, though the chief actors were hardly more imposing 
The idea of ^an tne r * va * em P eror s- The position of the 
a General Papacy was necessarily shaken by the contentions 
of two old men, each claiming to exercise divine 
authority, and each cursing the other with human petulance. 
The religious were shocked by such a spectacle : the irreligious 
laughed and mocked. A contemporary remarks that for a 
long time Christians had had an earthly god who forgave 
their sins, but now they have two such gods, and if one will 
not forgive their sins, they go to the other. The prolonged 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 197 

scandal forced men to change their conception of papal 
power, and to contend that such power does not exist for its 
own ends, but for the sake of the whole Church. If therefore 
that power is grossly abused, it is the right and even the 
duty of the Church to interfere on behalf of its suffering 
members. Hence arose the conciliar idea, which dominates 
all other ecclesiastical conceptions in the first half of the 
fifteenth century. The Church, as represented by a General 
Council, is superior to the head, as the whole body is superior 
to any member. This idea found its main support in the 
Universities, especially in Paris, Oxford, and Prague. The 
schism in the Empire and the prominence of the University 
of Paris enabled France to take the foremost place in urging 
the summons of a Council to put an end to ecclesiastical 
anarchy. France had already adopted a policy of neutrality 
in 1398, and had gone so far as to besiege Avignon and to 
make Benedict xin. a prisoner. But a reaction had set in 
when no other power followed the example of France, and 
the Orleanist party, in opposition to the Duke of Burgundy, 
had espoused the cause of Benedict. In 1402, to the great 
chagrin of the University of Paris, France returned to its 
allegiance, and Benedict, released from his captivity, journeyed 
to the coast of Provence and opened negotiations with his 
rival in Rome. 

The last two Roman Popes, Innocent vn. and Gregory xn., 
had only been elected on the express condition that they 
would resign as soon as their opponent did the same. 
Gregory xn. went so far as to make an agreement with 
Benedict, by which the two Popes pledged themselves to 
create no new cardinals, and to meet together Negot j ation8 
at Savona in 1407. The agreement was pro- between the 
bably insincere on Gregory's part, and at any two Popes - 
rate there were powerful influences at work to prevent its 
execution. Gregory xn. might be old and unambitious, but 
his relatives were eager to profit by his elevation, and he was 
too feeble to disregard their wishes. And Ladislas of 
Naples, who had become almost supreme at Rome under 

198 European History, 1273- 1494 

Innocent vn., had his own interest in prolonging the schism. 
A Roman Pope with a rival at Avignon was bound to support 
him against the Angevin claimant to Naples : but a new Pope, 
chosen at Savona under French influence, would be sure to 
espouse the cause of Louis of Anjou. None of the princes 
of Europe wished France to recover the ascendency in Church 
matters which it had enjoyed from 1305 to 1378, yet this 
would probably be the result if France were allowed to take 
the lead in terminating the schism. So the negotiations 
between the two Popes remained ludicrously futile. Gregory 
came as far north as Lucca, and Benedict as far south as 
Spezzia, yet they could not agree to meet. ' The one,' said 
Leonardo Bruni, 'like a land animal, refused to approach 
the sea; the other, like a water-beast, refused to leave the 

But Europe was not prepared to allow its interests to be 
any longer sacrificed by the selfish procrastination of two 

aged priests. In France Benedict's chief sup- 
Cardinais porter, the Duke of Orleans, had been removed 
desert the by assassination in 1407, and Charles vi. was 

induced by the University to withdraw his allegi- 
ance once more. Benedict replied by a bull of excom- 
munication against the French bishops, but the bull was 
burned, on the proposal of the University. This boldness 
convinced Benedict that he could no longer trust in France, 
and he fled to Perpignan, in his native state of Roussillon. 
But meanwhile an important event had taken place in Italy. 
The cardinals who had supported the respective Popes shared 
the general disgust at the obstinate refusal of their masters to 
fulfil their oft-repeated pledges. Though the Popes had 
never met, they had come near enough to allow their cardinals 
to confer together. The result was that most of them aban- 
doned the Popes, put themselves under Florentine protection, 
and summoned a General Council to meet at Pisa. 

The European states were invited to approve the action of 
the cardinals by sending delegates to Pisa. The support of 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 199 

France was assured, and England readily agreed to acknow- 
ledge the Council. The Spanish kingdoms, on the other 
hand, remained passively loyal to Benedict xin., The attitude 
and Germany was divided Wenzel, who had of Europe, 
never done anything to carry out the policy of neutrality which 
he had promised France to adopt in 1398, agreed to support 
the Council on condition that his title as King of the Romans 
was formally recognised. But Rupert, although many of his 
chief supporters were inclined to favour the cause of the 
cardinals, remained obstinate in his allegiance to the Roman 
Pope. Within Italy, Ladislas of Naples showed his deter- 
mination to enforce his own interests by occupying Rome 
with his troops. The two Popes, threatened with general 
desertion, made a tardy effort to conciliate public opinion by 
each summoning a council of his own. But very few prelates 
could be induced to attend, and the Council of Pisa only 
gained in importance by comparison with these conriliabula. 

At Pisa the Council was opened on March 25, 1409. The 
delegates present may be divided into two parties. The 
majority, including the cardinals who had sum- The Council 
moned the assembly, desired merely to end the of pisa > I4 °°- 
schism and to restore the old organisation in the Church. 
But some of the more enlightened ecclesiastics, such as 
d'Ailly and Gerson, wished to take advantage of an excep- 
tional opportunity, and to effect such reforms in the Church 
as would render similar scandals impossible in the future. 
Thus the programme of the Council came to be divided into 
the causa unionis and the causa reformationis. It was agreed 
to take the more pressing question of unity first, but to con- 
ciliate the reformers it was given to be understood that the 
Council should not separate until it had considered the 
reformation of the Church, both in its head and its members. 
After this matters proceeded without any hurry, but without 
any conflict of opinion. Charges against the two Popes were 
drawn up and publicly read. Gregory and Benedict were 
cited to appear and answer before the Council. After the 

200 European History \ 1273- 1494 

third summons they were declared contumacious, and de- 
prived of their usurped office and dignity. It is noteworthy 
that the Popes were not deposed simply on the ground of 
public advantage, or because they were not canon ically 
elected ; but distinct charges were brought against them, and 
the Council claimed the right to impose the punishment of 
deposition. It was a novel spectacle for Europe to see the 
principles of constitutional government applied in the Church 
as they had been enforced in the English state in the cases of 
Edward 11. and Richard 11. With the ground cleared by the 
decree of deposition, the cardinals proceeded to a new elec 
tion, and after eleven days' deliberation, their choice fell upon 
the Archbishop of Milan, who took the name of Alexander v. 
(June 26, 1409). The question of reform was adroitly post- 
poned for the consideration of a new council which was to 
meet in 141 2, and the Council of Pisa was dissolved on 
August 7, 1409. 

The Council broke up under the impression that it had 
accomplished at any rate the most important part of its pro- 
The triple gramme. But it was soon evident that the schism 
schism. was as f ar f rom an en d as ever. Neither Gregory 

nor Benedict would acknowledge the legality of the Council 
and its proceedings : and indeed it was not hard to question 
the legality of proceedings that were undoubtedly revolutionary 
and without precedent. The Council had no coercive power 
to enforce its edicts, and as long as the Popes could find any 
princes interested in supporting them, so long they would 
cling to their titles. The only difference that the Council 
had made was that, whereas before there had been two rival 
Popes, there were now three. The pontificate of 
Alexander v. Alexan( ]er v on \y lasted ten months. During 
that period he succeeded in recovering Rome from Ladislas, 
but only by reviving civil war by the recognition of Louis of 
Anjou's claim to Naples. His only ecclesiastical measure 
was a bull which endeavoured to settle an old quarrel in 
favour of the mendicant orders. Alexander himself was a 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 201 

Franciscan, and he recognised the full rights of the friars to 
receive confession and to administer the sacraments. The 
bull provoked a storm of opposition from the parish clergy, 
whose rights were infringed by the intruding friars, and from 
the University of Paris, always at war with the Franciscans. 
The University, which had so recently welcomed the Pope's 
election, now expelled all mendicants, and demanded that 
they should renounce the privileges conferred upon them by 
the bull. In the midst of this general disapproval, Alex- 
ander v. died (May 8, 1410), and the cardinals elected as his 
successor the clerical condottiere^ Baldassare Election of 
Cossa, who took the name of John xxm. The Johnxxm. 
new Pope had rendered great services in the protection of the 
Council and the recovery of Rome, and he seemed to be the 
only man who could be trusted to resist the threatening 
power of Ladislas of Naples. But he had no pretensions to 
piety, or even to respectability, and the elevation of a licen- 
tious soldier to the highest ecclesiastical dignity was in itself 
a scandal to Christendom almost as great as the schism 

The apparent failure of the Council of Pisa seemed to 
bring discredit upon its supporters and to justify the action 
of those who had held aloof. But Rupert was Death of 
not able to profit by any improvement this might Ru P ert - 
have made in his position, as he died on May 18, 1410, a few 
days after Alexander v. His death forced upon the western 
electors the problem of a new election, and ten years' ex- 
perience had so fully convinced them of the difficulty of 
overthrowing the House of Luxemburg, that no candidate 
outside that house seems to have been considered. There 
were now three surviving Luxemburg princes : Wenzel, who 
still claimed to be King of the Romans; Sigismund, who 
had gained a considerable reputation by the success of his 
recent rule in Hungary; and the ambitious Jobst, who had 
added Brandenburg and Lausitz to his inheritance in Moravia, 
and was now the chief adviser of his cousin in Bohemia. On 

202 European History, 1273- 1494 

the great question of the Church these princes had taken 
opposite sides : Wenzel and Jobst had acknowledged the 
Council, while Sigismund had never withdrawn his allegiance 
from Gregory xii. The four Rhenish electors, who alone 
had voted in the election of Rupert, were equally divided on 
the same question. The Archbishop of Trier and the Elector 
Palatine were adherents of the Roman Pope, while the Arch- 
bishops of Mainz and Koln supported Alexander v. and his 
successor. As none of them were inclined to stultify their 
action in 1400 by recognising Wenzel, the ecclesiastical 
differences decided their votes. The electors of Mainz and 
Koln were in favour of Jobst, and the other two were inclined 
to support Sigismund. 

Sigismund was the first to bring forward his claims, and he 
had much to recommend him. He had compelled Bosnia to 
Election of submit to his rule : the Servians acknowledged 
Sigismund. the suzerainty of Hungary; and he had reduced 
the greater part of Dalmatia, always inclined to set up a 
Neapolitan prince. Thus he could offer Germany the most 
efficient protection against the Turks, while as heir to 
Bohemia he seemed the only man who could mediate in 
the growing hostility of Germans and Slavs. As he could 
not come to Germany in person, he intrusted his cause to 
Frederick of Hohenzollern, Burggraf of Niirnberg, who had 
saved his life at the battle of Nicopolis, and had since become 
his most intimate adviser. But in spite of Sigismund's distin- 
guished reputation, his chances of election seemed small if 
he could only secure two votes, and if Jobst gave the Bran- 
denburg vote in his own favour. To get rid of this difficulty 
Sigismund determined to repudiate the bargain by which 
Brandenburg had been pledged to his cousin, and to claim 
and exercise the vote himself. He appointed Frederick of 
Hohenzollern to act as his proxy: and on September 1, 1410, 
the latter appeared with the four Rhenish electors at Frank- 
fort. This last move on Sigismund's part found his opponents 
unprepared. Jobst had made up his mind to stand by the 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 203 

cause of Wenzel and to secure his own election on his cousin's 
death. He and Rudolf of Saxony had declined to attend the 
meeting on the ground that there was no vacancy. The 
electors of Mainz and Koln did all they could to delay 
matters, but on September 20 the Elector Palatine and the 
Archbishop of Trier refused to wait any longer. Punctiliously 
fulfilling all the customary forms, they examined and approved 
the powers of the B urggraf of Niirnberg, and declared Sigismund 
to be unanimously elected. By the letter of the Golden Bull 
the election was incontestably valid, and even the doubtfulness 
of his claim to Brandenburg could hardly be urged against it. 

But Sigismund's opponents had numbers on their side, and 
were eager to atone for the blunder they had made in allowing 
a march to be stolen upon them. Jobst induced Election of 
Wenzel to make an agreement by which the latter Jobst. 
was to be recognised as Roman Emperor, and in return con- 
firmed Jobst in the possession of Brandenburg and promised 
to give the Bohemian vote in favour of his election as King 
of the Romans. In October Frankfort witnessed a new 
election. Five electors, either in person or by proxy, gave 
their votes in favour of Jobst of Moravia. Thus for the 
second time events in the Empire copied the example of 
those in the Church. The first schism between two rival 
Popes had been followed by a schism between two rival Kings 
of the Romans. In 1409 a third Pope was added, and the 
next year witnessed the unique spectacle of three princes of 
the same family each claiming the highest temporal dignity 
on earth. There could be no clearer proof of the unsuita- 
bility of mediaeval conceptions to the conditions of Europe 
in the fifteenth century. 

The triple schism in the Empire was, however, of short 
duration. Sigismund was preparing to attack his rival, when 
Jobst suddenly died on January 12, 141 1. His Death of 
removal rendered possible an agreement between J° bst - 
the two brothers. Sigismund recovered his inherited fief of 
Brandenburg, and intrusted its administration to Frederick 

204 European History, 1273- 1494 

of Niirnberg. Moravia was annexed to the Bohemian crown, 
and has never since been severed from it. As regards the 
imperial dignity, Wenzel agreed to give his own vote for 
Sigismund, as he had given it the previous year to Jobst, on 
condition that his own title should be recognised and that 
he should have a prior claim to be made emperor. The 
support of the Archbishops of Mainz and Koln Sigismund 
purchased by changing his attitude on the Church question 
Second anc * abandoning the cause of Gregory xn. On 

election of July 21, 1411, a third election took place at 
lgismun . ir ra nkfort, when the five votes which had been 
given for Jobst were unanimously registered in favour of 
Sigismund. The Elector Palatine and the Archbishop of 
Trier took no part in the matter, as they refused to cast a 
slur on the legality of their previous election. 

Sigismund was now to all intents and purposes the only 
King of the Romans, as Wenzel made no attempt to busy 
Si ismund himself with anything but Bohemian affairs. In 
and John his new capacity Sigismund displayed the bustling 
XXIIL activity and the readiness to turn from one great 

scheme to another which had always characterised him. 
He began by making war on the Venetians, who had en- 
croached upon Dalmatia. When this war was ended by a 
truce in 14 13, he entered Italy to reconquer Lombardy from 
the Visconti. But he found the power of Filippo Maria too 
strongly established to be easily overthrown, and he was 
about to retire when fortune threw another and more distin- 
guished enterprise in his way. John xxm. had succeeded to 
his predecessor's alliance with Louis 11. of Anjou and to the 
war with Ladislas of Naples. The defeat of the Neapolitan 
king at Rocca-Secca (May 19, 141 1) induced him to con- 
clude a treaty by which he was to abandon Gregory XII. and 
John was to desert the Angevin cause. But Ladislas had 
more ambitious aims than merely to secure his position in 
Naples. He desired to build up a kingdom of Italy, and for 
this purpose to seize upon the States of the Church which lay 

The Schisms in the Papacy and Empire 205 

between him and the northern principalities and republics. 
No sooner had John xxm. disbanded his mercenary forces 
than Ladislas resumed hostilities, occupied Rome, and drove 
the Pope to find refuge in Florence. In this strait John 
looked eagerly round for support, and the most obvious ally 
was Sigismund, who had his own reasons for checking the 
aggrandisement of Ladislas. But Sigismund would only give 
his assistance on condition that the Pope should summon a 
new Council to some German city in order to put an end to 
the schism. John saw clearly the danger of such a proceeding 
to his own position, and strove to alter the place of meeting 
to some town south of the Alps. Sigismund, however, stood 
firm, the Pope's difficulties were pressing, and at Summons of 
last a formal summons was issued for a Council the council 
to meet at Constance on November 1, 1414. ofConstance - 
Before the dreaded date arrived, the death of Ladislas 
(August 6) freed the Pope from his most immediate difficul- 
ties and caused him to repent of his too hasty acquiescence. 
Sigismund had apparently gained a signal triumph. He had 
ousted the French monarchy from the lead of the reforming 
movement in Europe, and if he could conduct the Council to 
a successful issue, he would have done much to restore the 
prestige both of the imperial dignity and of the German 
kingship. Men were reminded of the days when the early 
emperors, Otto the Great and Henry in., had dominated the 
Church as well as the State. 


OF CONSTANCE, 1409-1418 

Questions before the Council of Constance — The Hussite Movement — Its 
Political Aspect — Exodus of Germans from Prague — Hus at the Council 
of Constance — Parties at Constance — Hus imprisoned — Attacks on John 
xxiii.— His flight— Triumph of Sigismund— Deposition of John XXIH.— 
The Council during Sigismund's absence — Sigismund's journey — Dissen- 
sions in the Council — Election of Martin v. — Dissolution of the Council 

The Council of Constance, like that of Pisa, had two very 
obvious questions to consider: (i) the restoration of unity \ 

and (2), if the reforming party could have its way, 
before' the tne reform of the Church in its head and members. 
Council of But circumstances forced the Council to consider 

a third question, which had never been even 
touched in the discussions at Pisa. This was reformation in 
its widest sense : not merely a constitutional change in the 
relations of Pope and hierarchy, but a vital change in dogma 
and ritual. This question was brought to the front by the 
so-called Hussite movement in Bohemia. The fundamental 
issues involved were those which have been at the bottom of 
most subsequent disputes in the Christian Church. How far 
was the Christianity of the day unlike the Christianity to be 
found in the record of Christ and His Apostles ? And the 
difference, if any, was it a real and necessary difference con- 
sequent on the development of society, or was it the result of 
abuses and innovations introduced by fallible men? The 
orthodox took their stand upon the unity and authority of the 
Church. The Church was the true foundation of Christ and 


The Hussite Movement and the Council of Constance 207 

the inheritor of His spirit. Therefore what the Church 
believed and taught, that alone was the true Christian doc- 
trine : and the forms and ceremonies of the Church were the 
necessary aids to faith. The reformers, on the other hand, 
looked to Scripture for the fundamental rules of life and 
conduct. Any deviation from these rules, no mafter on what 
authority, must be superfluous, and might very probably be 

The Hussite movement was older than Hus, and it was 
partly native and partly foreign in its origin. The first 
impulse to religious ._ reform is to be found, in The Hussite 
Bohemia as in England, in the dissensions be- movement, 
tween the parish clergy and the mendicant orders. The 
latter, being in immediate dependence upon the Papacy, 
were not subject to the ordinary authority of the bishops, and 
soon learned to consider themselves superior to the parish 
clergy. The bishops usually supported their own depen- 
dants, while the friars often found a powerful ally in the Pope. 
One result of this long-standing quarrel was that the people 
learned to question the authority of their ecclesiastical 
superiors. Wherever it is necessary or possible to take one 
of two sides, a certain amount of thought and independence 
is called into exercise by the choice. This first questioning 
spirit among the Bohemians was taken advantage of by a 
series of reforming teachers in the fourteenth century, of 
whom the best known are Konrad Waldhauser, Milecz of 
Kremsier, and Mathias of Janow. These men attacked the 
degradation of the Church, the vices of monks and friars, the 
wealth and worldliness of the higher clergy. But it was not 
until the rise of Hus that there was any system in the demand 
for reform, or any cohesion among the reformers. And the 
systematic teaching of Hus was for the most part derived 
from the great English teacher, John Wyclif. It was a rule 
in the University of Prague that Bachelors of Arts might not 
deliver their own lectures, but must expound the teaching of 
distinguished professors either of Prague, Paris, or Oxford 

208 European History, 1273- 1494 

The marriage of Anne of Bohemia, Wenzel's sister, with 
Richard 11. led to considerable intercourse between England 
and Bohemia. Many Bohemian students, notably the friend 
and disciple of Hus, Jerome of Prague, completed part of their 
course in Oxford, and returned to their native land carrying 
with them Wyclifs treatises, or the record and recollection of 
his oral teaching. Wyclif, like the Bohemian reformers, had 
begun by quarrelling with the friars and denouncing the vices 
of the clergy. The disputes with the Avignon Popes had led 
him on to attack the extreme claims of papal authority : and 
gradually he had come to question some of the most pro- 
minent dogmas of the Church, notably that of transubstantia- 
tion. Hus was at first reluctant to accept all the conclusions 
of Wyclif, but he advanced step by step in the same direction, 
and in the end it was as the avowed disciple of the English 
reformer that he became the leader of a religious party in 

But it is important to remember that the Hussite move- 
ment had a secular as well as an ecclesiastical side. Bohemia 

was a Slav state, and for centuries there had been a 
aspect of the conflict between Slavs and Germans. At one time 
Hussite the Slavs had advanced along the southern shores 

of the Baltic almost as far as the North Sea. But, 
harassed by the attacks of the Magyars, they had been unable 
to hold their own, and had gradually been subdued or driven 
eastwards by German influences, represented by the Dukes of 
Saxony, the Margraves of Brandenburg, the Hanseatic League, 
and finally the crusading order of the Teutonic Knights. At 
the end of the fourteenth century this steady eastward advance 
of the Germans met with a severe, and to some extent a per- 
manent, check. No doubt the chief agency in effecting this 
was the success of the Jagellon kings of Poland in their war 
with the Teutonic Order. But the Hussite movement belongs 
to the same Slav reaction, and for a time contributed almost 
as directly as Polish victories to assure the successful resist- 
ance of the Slavs. Hus himself, born of humble parentage 

The Hussite Movement and the Council of Constance 209 

in the village of Husinec, was profoundly imbued with popular 
sympathies, and lost no opportunity of identifying himself and 
his teaching with the national cause. And in this aim he was 
served by events in the University of Prague, where he early 
rose to a distinguished position. Founded in the days of 
Bohemian ascendency under Charles iv., the University had 
from the first attracted a large number of German teachers and 
students, and had become far larger and more distinguished 
than any purely German university. Like the Paris Uni- 
versity, on which it had been modelled, it was divided into 
four nations — Bohemians, Poles, Bavarians, and Saxons. 
After the foundation of a Polish university at Cracow, the 
Polish nation at Prague had come to be composed mainly of 
Germans from Silesia, Pomerania, and Prussia. Thus to all 
intents and purposes the University was composed of two 
nations, Germans and Bohemians, of whom the former had 
three times as much power as the latter. In all questions 
which were decided by the vote of the nations, the Germans 
had three votes to one, and as offices went in rotation to the 
four nations, they had three turns to the Bohemian one. As 
the divergent interests of Slavs and Germans became accen- 
tuated by political and religious differences, the inferiority of 
the Bohemians in their own University became more and 
more of a grievance. It was on religious questions that the 
quarrel was most embittered. The majority of the orthodox 
party in the University consisted of Germans, and they 
denounced the growth of Wycliffite heresy. A German 
teacher brought forward a number of propositions which had 
been attributed to Wyclif and condemned by a Synod in 
London. In spite of the opposition of Hus and his Bohemian 
supporters, the majority in the University voted that the 
doctrines were heretical, and prohibited their teaching. 
Wenzel, who was at this time supporting the rebellious 
cardinals, was anxious that his intervention should not be 
weakened by the charge of the prevalence of heresy in his 
dominions, and was at first inclined to support the majority. 

210 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

But when he applied to the University for their approval of 
the Council of Pisa, he found the Bohemians ready to 
acquiesce, while the Germans were mostly on the side of the 
Roman Pope. At this moment the so-called ' contest of the 
three votes ' was at its height, and Hus had adroitly come 
forward as the champion of the cause of his fellow-country- 
men. In the hope of forwarding his ecclesiastical policy, 
Wenzel was induced to intervene in the University quarrel. 
In January 1409 he issued an edict that henceforth the 
Bohemians should have three votes and three turns in office, 
while the foreign nations were only to have one between 
them. The Germans protested vigorously, and as they failed 
to obtain redress, determined to leave Prague. The roads 
were crowded with the emigrants, and it was reckoned that 
on one day two thousand Germans took their departure. 

The exodus of the Germans from Prague is an important 
historical event. For sixty years Prague had been the capital 
Exodus of °^ Germany, partly as the residence of the Em- 
the Germans peror, and partly as the seat of the leading 
from Prague. University. With the students had come German 
traders, who had made Prague a commercial as well as an 
intellectual centre. All this came to a sudden end in 1409. 
Prague lost its prominence among German towns. Other 
universities were strengthened by the addition of the exiles 
from Bohemia ; and a large number of them founded a new 
university at Leipzig. Germany received a great intellectual 
impulse, which was strengthened rather than weakened by 
the loss of a general centre. And for Bohemia the conse- 
quences were no less important. The German element in 
the country received a blow which was fatal to its further 
development for two centuries. At the same time the great 
dam which had hitherto impeded the spread of the new 
religious doctrines was removed. The rapidity with which 
the people received the Wycliffite or Hussite teaching shows 
not only that the soil was already well prepared for the seed, 
but also the strength of the national antipathy to foreigners- 

The Hussite Movement ana tne Council of Constance 21 1 

With the departure of the Germans, all opposition to the 
recognition of the Council of Pisa by Bohemia came to an 
• end. But the religious dispute was as far from a hub invited 
settlement as ever. Although the people were to Constance, 
inclined to regard Hus as the champion of the national cause, 
there was still a large orthodox party among the upper classes, 
and the clergy were resolutely opposed to doctrinal reform 
Alexander v. issued a bull ordering the Archbishop of Prague 
to put down heresy, and Wyclifs writings were publicly 
burned. Hus appealed from the Pope ill-informed to the 
Pope when he should be better informed. In 141 2 the 
quarrel was envenomed. John xxm. had proclaimed a 
crusade against Ladislas of Naples, and endeavoured to raise 
money by the sale of indulgences. Hus protested against 
such an iniquity as vigorously as did Luther a century later, 
and the papal bull was burned in the public square. Riots 
broke out in Prague, and Bohemia seemed to be on the verge 
of civil war. Wenzel could only obtain a temporary truce by 
persuading Hus to retire for a time into the country. Mean- 
while Sigismund had succeeded in inducing John xxm. to 
summon a General Council, and anxious to pacify his future 
kingdom, he invited Hus to attend. The reformer's friends 
warned him of the danger he would run in accepting the 
invitation, but Hus was eager to state his opinions before 
an assembly of Christendom, and on receiving a promise of 
a personal safe-conduct from Sigismund, he arrived in Con- 
stance on November 3, 1414. 

The Council of Constance is one of the most notable 
assemblies in the history of the world. In the number and 
fame of its members, in the importance of its The council 
objects, and above all, in the dramatic interest of of Constance, 
its records, it has few rivals. It is like the meeting of two 
worlds, the old and the new, the mediaeval and the modern. 
We find there represented views which have hardly yet been 
fully accepted, which have occupied the best minds of suc- 
ceeding centuries : at the same time, the Council itself and its 

212 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

ceremonial carry us back to the times of the Roman Empire, 
when Church and State were scarcely yet dual, and when 
Christianity was co-extensive with one united Empire. At 
Constance all the ideas, religious and political, of the Middle 
Ages seem to be put upon their trial. If that trial had ended 
in condemnation, there could be no fitter point to mark the 
division between mediaeval and modern history. But the 
verdict was acquittal, or at least a partial acquittal ; and the 
old system was allowed, under modified conditions, a lease of 
life for another century. It must not be forgotten that there 
were great secular as well as ecclesiastical interests involved in 
the Council. Princes and nobles were present as well as 
cardinals and prelates. The Council may be regarded not 
only as a great assembly of the Church, but also as a great 
diet of the mediaeval empire. 

The man who had done more than any one to procure the 
summons of the Council, and whose interests were most closely 
Parties at bound up in its success, was Sigismund, King of 
Constance. tne Romans and potential Emperor. He was 
eager to terminate the schism, and to bring about such a 
reform in the Church as would prevent the recurrence of 
similar scandals. But his motive in this was not merely dis- 
interested devotion to the interests of the Church. He wished 
to revive the prestige of the Holy Roman Empire, and to 
gratify his own personal vanity, by posing as the secular head 
of Christendom and the arbiter of its disputes. More espe- 
cially he wished to restore the authority of the monarchy in 
Germany, and to put an end to that anarchic independence 
of the princes, of which the recent schism was both the illus- 
tration and the result. In pursuing this aim he was con- 
fronted by the champions of ' liberty ' and princely interests, 
who were represented at Constance by the Archbishop of 
Mainz and Frederick of Hapsburg, Count of Tyrol. The 
archbishop, John of Nassau, had been prominent in effecting 
and prolonging the schism in the Empire. He was a firm 
supporter of John xxiii., and had no interest in attending the 

The Hussite Movement and the Council of Constance 213 

Council except to thwart the designs of the king, whom he 
had been the last to accept. Frederick of Tyrol was the 
youngest son of that Duke Leopold who had fallen at Sem 
pach in the war with the Swiss. Of his father's possessions 
Frederick had inherited Tyrol and the Swabian lands, and 
the propinquity of his territories made him a powerful per- 
sonage at Constance. His family was the chief rival of the 
House of Luxemburg for ascendency in eastern Germany, 
and he himself seems to have cherished a personal grudge 
against Sigismund. To these enemies Sigismund could op- 
pose two loyal allies, the Elector Palatine Lewis, who had 
completely abandoned the anti-Luxemburg policy pursued 
by his father Rupert, and Frederick of Hohenzollern, the 
most prominent representative of national sentiment in 
Germany, who had already given in Brandenburg an example 
of that restoration of order which he wished Sigismund to 
effect throughout his dominions. 

Of the clerical members of the Council the most prominent 
at the commencement was the Pope John xxm. He had 
been forced by his difficulties in Italy to issue the summons, 
but as the time for the meeting approached he felt more and 
more misgiving. His one object was to maintain himself in 
office ; but he was conscious that neither Sigismund nor the 
cardinals would hesitate to throw him over if he stood in the 
way of the restoration of unity. He therefore allied himself 
with Sigismund's opponents, the Elector of Mainz and 
Frederick of Tyrol, and spared no pains to bring about dis- 
sension between Sigismund and the Council. 

The assembled clergy may be divided roughly into two 
parties : the reformers, and the conservative or ultramontane 
party. The reformers were not in favour of any clerical 
radical change in the Church. They were if any- parties, 
thing more vehemently opposed than their antagonists to the 
doctrines of Wyclif and Hus. Such reform as they desired 
was aristocratic rather than democratic. They had no inten- 
tion of weakening the authority of the Church; but within 

214 European History \ 1 273-1494 

the Church they desired to remove gross abuses, and to 
strengthen the hierarchy as against the Papacy. Their chief 
contention was that a General Council has supreme authority, 
even over the Pope, and they wished such councils to meet 
at regular intervals. By this means papal absolutism would 
be limited by a sort of oligarchical parliament within the 
Church. The conservatives, on the other hand, consisting 
chiefly of the cardinals and Italian prelates, had no wish to 
alter a system under which they enjoyed material advantages. 
Their object, as it had been at Pisa, was to restore the union 
of the Church, but to defeat, or at any rate postpone, any 
schemes of reform. 

The Council was opened on November 5, but the meeting 
was only formal, and no real business was transacted for a 
Hus month. Meanwhile Hus had been followed to 

imprisoned. Constance by the representatives of the orthodox 
party in Bohemia, who brought a formidable list of charges 
against the reformer. John xxm. at once saw in this 
an opportunity for embroiling the Council with Sigismund. 
Adroitly keeping himself in the background, he allowed the 
cardinals to take the lead in the matter. They summoned 
Hus to appear before them, and in spite of his protest that 
he was only answerable to the whole Council, they committed 
him to prison. The news that his safe-conduct had been so 
insultingly disregarded reached Sigismund as he was starting 
for Constance after the coronation ceremony at Aachen. He 
arrived on Christmas day, and at once demanded that Hus 
should be released. The Pope excused himself, and threw 
the blame on the cardinals. To the king's right to protect 
his subject the cardinals opposed their duty to suppress 
heresy. In high dudgeon, Sigismund declared that he would 
leave the Council to its fate, and actually set out on his 
return journey. The Pope was jubilant at the success of his 
wiles. But Sigismund's friends, and especially Frederick of 
Hohenzollern, urged him not to sacrifice the interests of 
Germany and of Christendom for the sake of a heretic. This 

The Hussite Movement and the Council of Constance 215 

advice, and the feeling that his personal reputation was staked 
on the success of the Council, triumphed. Sigismund returned 
to Constance, and Hus remained a prisoner. From this 
moment John xxm. began to despair. 

The Pope's position became worse when the Council, copy- 
ing the procedure of the universities, began to discuss matters, 
not in a general assembly, but each nation sepa- Attacks on 
rately. This deprived John of the advantage John xxm. 
which he hoped to gain from the numerical majority of Italian 
prelates attending the Council. Four nations organised them- 
selves : Italians, French, Germans, and English. Over the 
last three John xxm. had no hold whatever. To his disgust 
they treated him, not as the legitimate Pope, whose authority 
was to be vindicated against his rivals, but as one of three 
schismatic Popes, whose retirement was a necessary condition 
of the restoration of unity. When he tried to evade their 
demand, they brought unanswerable charges against his 
personal character, and threatened to depose him. He tried 
to disarm hostility by declaring his readiness to resign if the 
other Popes would do the same. His promise was welcomed 
with enthusiasm, but neither Sigismund nor his supporters 
were softened by it. In spite of the vehement protests of the 
Elector of Mainz that he would obey no Pope but John xxm., 
the proposal was made to proceed to a new election. John 
had to fall back upon his last expedient. If he departed from 
Constance he might throw the Council into fatal The Pope's 
confusion : at the worst he could maintain himself fli & ht - 
as an Antipope, as Gregory and Benedict had done against 
the Council of Pisa. His ally Frederick of Tyrol was pre- 
pared to assist him. Frederick arranged a tournament out- 
side the walls, and while this absorbed public interest, the 
Pope escaped from Constance in the disguise of a groom, 
and made his way to Schaffhausen, a strong castle of the 
Hapsburg count. 

For the moment John xxm. seemed not unlikely to gain his 
end. Constance was thrown into confusion by the news of 

216 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

his flight. The mob rushed to pillage the papal residence. 
The Italian and Austrian prelates prepared to leave the city, 
and the Council was on the verge of dissolution. But Sigis- 
Triumphof mund's zeal and energy succeeded in averting 
sigismund. sucn a disaster. He restored order in the city, 
persuaded the prelates to remain, and took prompt measures 
to punish his rebellious vassal. An armed force under 
Frederick of Hohenzollern succeeded in capturing not only 
John xxiii. but also Frederick of Tyrol. The latter was 
compelled to undergo public humiliation, and to hand over 
his territories to his suzerain on condition that his life should 
be spared. No such exercise of imperial power had been 
witnessed in Germany since the days of the Hohenstaufen, 
and Sigismund chose this auspicious moment to secure a 
powerful supporter within the electoral college by handing 
over the electorate of Brandenburg to Frederick of Niirnberg 
(April 30, 141 5). He thus established a dynasty which was 
destined to play a great part in German history, and ulti- 
mately to create a new German Empire. 

The unsuccessful flight of John xxiii. not only enabled 
Sigismund to assume a more authoritative position in the 
Deposition of Council and in Germany : it also sealed his own 
John xxiii. f ate The Council had no longer any hesitation 
in proceeding to the formal deposition of the Pope (May 29, 
14 1 5). As the two Popes who had been deposed at Pisa 
had never been recognised at Constance, the Church was 
now without a head. But instead of hastening to fill the 
vacancy, the Council turned aside to the suppression of 
Execution heresy and the trial of Hus. On three occasions, 
ofHus. the 5th, 7th, and 8th of June, Hus was heard 

before a general session. No point in his teaching excited 
greater animadversion than his contention that a priest, 
whether Pope or prelate, forfeited his office by the commis- 
sion of mortal sin. With great cunning his accusers drew 
him on to extend this doctrine to temporal princes. This 
was enough to complete the alienation of Sigismund, and 

The Hussite Movement and the Council of Constance 217 

after the third day's trial he was the first to pronounce in 
favour of condemnation. The last obstacle in the way of the 
prosecution was thus removed, and Hus was burned in a 
meadow outside the city walls on July 6, 141 5. 

With the death of Hus ends the first and most eventful 
period of the Council of Constance. Within these seven or 
eight months Sigismund and the reforming party, thanks to 
the division of the Council into nations, seemed to have 
gained a signal success. Sigismund had purchased his 
triumph by breaking his pledge to Hus, and for this he was 
to pay a heavy penalty in the subsequent disturbances in 
Bohemia. But for the moment these were not foreseen, and 
Sigismund was jubilantly eager to prosecute his scheme. 
Warned by the experience of its predecessor 

-*> ■ J ++ .\% m ** e , The Council 

at Pisa, the Council of Constance was careful during sigis- 
not to put too much trust in paper decrees. mund ' 8 
John xxiii. was not only deposed, but a prisoner. 
Gregory xn. had given a conditional promise of resignation, 
and had so few supporters as to be of slight importance. 
But Benedict xm. was still strong in the allegiance of the 
Spanish kingdoms, and unless they could be detached from 
his cause there was little prospect of ending the schism. 
This task Sigismund volunteered to undertake, and he also 
proposed to avert the impending war between England and 
France, to reconcile the Burgundian and Armagnac parties 
in the latter country, and to negotiate peace between the 
King of Poland and the Teutonic Knights. It would indeed 
be a revival of the imperial idea if its representative could 
thus act as a general mediator in European quarrels. The 
Council welcomed the offer with enthusiasm, and showed 
their loyalty to Sigismund by deciding to postpone all im- 
portant questions till his return. And this decision was actu- 
ally adhered to. During the sixteen months of Sigismund's 
absence (July 15, 1415, to January 27, 141 7) only two 
prominent subjects were considered by the Council. One 
was the trial of Jerome of Prague, which was a mere corollary 

218 European History \ 1273- 1494 

of that of Hus, and ended in a similar sentence. The other 
was the thorny question raised by the proposed condemnation 
of the writings of Jean Petit, a Burgundian partisan who had 
defended the murder of the Duke of Orleans. The leader 
of the attack upon Jean Petit was Gerson, the learned and 
eloquent chancellor of the University of Paris. But so com- 
pletely had the matter become a party question, and so 
great was the influence of the Duke of Burgundy, that the 
Council could not be induced to go further than a general 
condemnation of the doctrine of lawful tyrannicide; and 
Gerson's activity in the matter provoked such ill-will that 
after the close of the Council he could not venture to return 
to France, which was then completely under Burgundian and 
English domination. 

It is impossible to narrate here the story of Sigismund's 
journey, though it abounds with illustrations of his impulsive 
sigismund's character and of the attitude of the western states 
journey. towards the imperial pretensions. It furnished 

conclusive proofs, if any were needed, that however the 
Council, for its own ends, might welcome the authority of a 
secular head, national sentiment was far too strongly de- 
veloped to give any chance of success to a projected revival 
of the mediaeval empire. As regards his immediate object, 
Sigismund was able to achieve some results. He failed to 
induce Benedict xin. to abdicate, but the quibbles of the 
veteran intriguer exhausted the patience of his supporters, 
and at a conference at Narbonne the Spanish kings agreed 
to desert him and to adhere to the Council of Constance. 
(December 141 5). But Sigismund's more ambitious schemes- 
came to nothing. So far from prevmting a war between 
England and France, he only forwarded an alliance between 
Henry v. and the Duke of Burgundy, and though he 
may have done this in the hope of forcing peace upo.. 
France, the result was to make the war more disastrous and 

When Sigismund reappeared in Constance (January 27, 

The Hussite Movement and the Council of Constance 219 

1417), he found that the state of affairs both in Germany and 
in the Council had altered for the worse. Frederick of Tyrol 
had returned to his dominions and had been welcomed by 
his subjects. The Archbishop of Mainz had renewed his 
intrigues, and an attempt had even been made to release 
John xxiii. With the Elector Palatine, formerly his loyal 
supporter, Sigismund had quarrelled on money matters, and 
it seemed possible that the four Rhenish electors would form 
a league against Sigismund as they had done against Wenzel 
in 1400. Still more galling was his loss of influence in the 
Council. The adhesion of the Spanish kingdoms Dissensions in 
had been followed by the arrival of Spanish pre- the Council - 
lates, who formed a fifth nation and strengthened the party 
opposed to reform. The war between England and France 
had created a quarrel between the two nations at Constance, 
and the French deserted the cause they had once championed 
rather than vote with their enemies. Sigismund could only 
rely upon the English and the Germans: and the question 
which agitated the Council was one of vital importance. 
Which was to come first, the election of a new Pope, or the 
adoption of a scheme of ecclesiastical reform? The con- 
servatives contended that the Church could hardly be said 
to exist without its head ; that no reform would be valid 
until the normal constitution of the Church was restored. 
On the other hand, it was urged that no reform was possible 
unless the supremacy of a General Council was fully recog- 
nised ; that certain questions could be more easily discussed 
and settled during a vacancy; that if the reforms were agreed 
upon, a new Pope could be pledged to accept them, whereas 
a Pope elected at once could prevent all reform. Party 
spirit ran extremely high, and it seemed almost impossible 
to effect an agreement. Sigismund was openly denounced 
as a heretic, while he in turn threatened to imprison the 
cardinals for contumacy. But gradually the balance turned 
against the reformers. Some of the leading German bishops 
were bribed to change their votes. The head of the English 

220 European History \ 1273- 1494 

representatives, Robert Hallam, Bishop of Salisbury, died at 
the critical moment, and the influence of Henry Beaufort, 
the future cardinal, induced the English nation to support an 
immediate election. It was agreed that a new Pope should 
be chosen at once, and that the Council should then proceed 
to the work of reform. But the only preliminary concession 
that Sigismund and his party could obtain was the issue of 
a decree in October 141 7, that another Council should meet 
within five years, a second within seven years, and that 
afterwards a Council should be regularly held every ten years. 
For the new election it was decided that the twenty-three 
cardinals should be joined by thirty delegates of the Council, 
Election of s * x * TOm eacn nat ion. The conclave met on 
Martin v., November 8, and three days later their choice 
Nov. ii, 1417. feU upon Cardinal 0ddo Colonna, who took the 

name of Martin v. Even the defeated party could not refrain 
from sharing in the general enthusiasm at the restoration of 
unity after forty years of schism. But their fears as to the 
ultimate fate of the cause of reform were fully justified. Soon 
after his election Martin declared that it was impious to 
appeal to a Council against a papal decision. Such a declara 
tion, as Gerson said, nullified the acts of the Councils of Pisa 
and Constance, including the election of the Pope himself. 
In their indignation the members made a strong appeal to the 
Pope to fulfil the conditions agreed upon before his election. 
But Martin had a weapon to hand which had been furnished 
by the Council itself. It was the division into nations that 
had led to the fall of John xxm., and it was the same division 
into nations that had ruined the prospects of reform. The 
Pope now drew up a few scanty articles of reform, which he 
offered as separate concordats to the French, Germans, and 
English. It was a dangerous expedient for a Pope to adopt, 
because it seemed to imply the separate existence of national 
churches ; but it answered its immediate purpose. Martin 
could contend that there was no longer any work for the 
Council to do, and he dissolved it in May 14 18. He set out 

The Hussite Movement and the Council of Constance 22 1 

for Italy, where a difficult task awaited him. Papal authority 
in Rome had ceased with the flight of John xxm. in 1414. 
Sigismund offered the Pope a residence in some Dissolution of 
German city, but Martin wisely refused. The the Council, 
support of his own family, the Colonnas, enabled May * X4X ' 
him to re-enter Rome in 142 1. By that time almost all traces 
of the schism had disappeared. Gregory xn. was dead : John 
xxm. had recently died in Florence : Benedict xin. still held 
out in his fortress of Peniscola, but was impotent in his 



Sigismund and Germany — Hussite parties in Bohemia— Crusades against the 
Hussites — Bohemian victories — Bohemia and Poland — Attempted reforms 
in Germany — The Crusade of 1427 — Reforms of 1427 — The Crusade of 
1431 — Summons of the Council of Basel — Its procedure — Its quarrel with 
Eugenius IV. — His submission— The Compacts with Bohemia — Civil war 
in Bohemia — Battle of Lipan — Sigismund acknowledged king of Bohemia 
— The Council of Basel and reforms — Divisions within the Council — 
Negotiations with the Greeks — Quarrel of the Pope and Council — Council 
of Ferrara or Florence — Attitude of France and Germany — The Prag- 
matic Sanction — Deposition of Eugenius iv. — Election of Felix v. — The 
Council's prestige declines — Triumph of Eugenius IV. — Reconciliation of 
Germany to Eugenius iv. — Close of the Council of Basel — Failure of the 
Conciliar Movement. 

The ultimate failure of the reforming party at Constance had 
ruined all Sigismund's schemes for the restoration of monarchi- 
sigismund cal authority in Germany. Ready as he was to 
and Germany. f orm magnificent projects, he was equally easily 
discouraged and turned aside. After quitting the Council he 
devoted himself to personal and dynastic interests, to the 
defence of Hungary against the Turks, and to the enforce- 
ment of his claim to succeed in Bohemia. Germany and 
German interests he abandoned almost as completely as his 
brother had done. The result was a gradual rupture of the 
friendship that had hitherto existed between himself and 
Frederick of Brandenburg. The latter had made it his life's 
task to restore unity to Germany, in order to save that country 
from internal aissolution and foreign attack. The desertion 
of Sigismund from what had been a common cause forced 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 223 

him to change his means, but not his end. Hitherto he had 
striven to unite Germany under the monarchy, but that was 
impossible when the king would not undertake to govern. 
Frederick was forced to scheme for a federal union of 
Germany which should be independent of, and perhaps hostile 
to, the monarchy. And the necessity of some such union was 
made more and more manifest by events in Bohemia. 

In Bohemia the news of Hus's death had provoked a storm 
of indignation, and had intensified the national sentiment 
of hostility to Germany. Sigismund was regarded Hu8site 
with special loathing as a perjured traitor as well parties in 
as a party to a murder. Even the sluggish Bohemia - 
Wenzel shared the sentiments of his subjects. He bitterly 
reviled his brother for breaking his safe-conduct, ordered that 
no Bohemian should henceforth appear before a foreign 
tribunal, and showed special favour to the party which 
demanded vengeance for Hus's death. Under the leadership 
of Nicolas of Husinec, lord of the village where Hus had 
been born, and of John Ziska, already known as a capable 
military leader, the Hussites made great strides towards 
ascendency in Bohemia. The chief doctrine which they 
advanced was the communion in both kinds. They held 
that laymen were entitled to receive the cup in the sacrament 
as well as the priests, and hence, as a religious party, they 
received the name of Utraquists. But though they were 
united in this contention, and also in common hostility to 
Germany and German influences, there were important divi- 
sions among the Hussites. The moderate party, or Calixtines, 
were in favour of a gradual reform, and wished to separate 
political from religious questions. They were also called 
Pragers, because they were strongest in the capital and in the 
University of Prague. In 1420 their demands were formulated 
in the 'four articles of Prague,' which became the avowed creed 
of the party. These were : (1) complete liberty of preaching ; 
(2) the communion in both kinds for all Christians ; (3) the 
exclusion of priests from temporal affairs and the holding of 

224 European History \ 1 2 7 3 - 1 494 

property ; (4) the subjection of clergy to secular penalties foi 
crimes and misdemeanours. But side by side with the 
Calixtines was a radical and democratic party, known as the 
Taborites. Like the Lollards in England, they mixed up 
social and religious questions, and advocated republican and 
even communistic theories. 

The death of Wenzel in 141 9 added a new element of 
bitterness to the quarrel between the Hussites and the 
Crusades champions of orthodoxy. The obvious heir to 
against the the crown was Sigismund, the only surviving 
male of the Luxemburg house. But Sigismund 
was regarded as peculiarly responsible for Hus's death, and as 
the representative of all that was foreign and anti-Bohemiaa 
It was inevitable that his claim should be resisted, or only 
accepted on very stringent conditions. At the moment 
Sigismund was engaged in a Turkish war, and left the 
government in the hands of Wenzel's widow. But as soon as 
possible he patched up a truce with the Turks, and prepared 
to take possession of his new kingdom. Frederick of 
Brandenburg urged him to adopt a conciliatory policy, to 
play off one party against the other, and to gain over the 
moderates by a few concessions in religious matters. But 
Sigismund was eager to secure the support of the Pope, who 
was resolutely opposed to any tampering with heresy; and 
most of his German advisers urged that any concessions to 
his subjects would make them haughty and disobedient in 
the future. The counsel of Frederick of Brandenburg was 
rejected, and in March 1420 Martin v. published a crusade 
against the Hussites. A German army was to be raised to 
prosecute the religious war. No decision could have been 
more disastrous. Party divisions in Bohemia were at once 
reconciled, and all classes joined in maintaining a national 
_ . resistance against a common foe. And this re- 

Bohemian & 

victories, sistance was completely successful. Ziska proved 
i 4 ao-aa. to ^ e a g enera l of the first rank. Not only did 

he give to his troops the cohesion and discipline of a standing 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 225 

army, but he introduced innovations which mark an epoch 
in the history of mediaeval warfare. Especially prominent is 
the excellence of his artillery, and the use which he made of 
his baggage-waggons. These were formed into a sort of 
movable fortress, equally formidable both for defence and 
aggression. The German armies opposed to him were the 
feudal levies, collected from various states, bound together 
by no common interests or enthusiasms, and recognising no 
common discipline or authority. In three successive cam- 
paigns — 1420, 142 1, and 1422 — the Germans were routed 
and driven from Bohemia, until at last the mere rumour of 
Ziska's approach was sufficient to drive his enemies into dis- 
orderly and panic-stricken flight. A contemporary says that 
the Germans were inspired with such a loathing for heretics 
that they could not bring themselves to strike them, or even 
to look them in the face. 

After the failure of the third crusade in 1422, Bohemia was 
left to herself for five years. Nicolas of Husinec had died in 
142 1, Ziska was carried off by the plague in 1424, Bohemia 
and the leadership of the militant party passed to and Poland. 
a general of hardly less ability, Prokop. With the removal of 
external danger, the bond which had held parties together 
was broken, the old. divisions and quarrels reappeared, and 
the country was a prey to the horrors of civil war. An 
attempt was made to identify the common interests of the 
Slav race in opposition to Germany by offering the crown to 
Ladislas of Poland. But Ladislas was afraid of compromising 
nis position by an alliance with heretics, and though his 
nephew Korybut was for a time sent into Bohemia, the 
opportunity of forming a powerful Slav monarchy on the 
frontier of Germany was allowed to slip. 

Meanwhile the humiliation of successive and crushing 
defeats had made a profound impression in Germany. The 
battle of Brescia (v. p. 196) had already shown the weakness 
of German arms ; but the failure to crush the Hussites proved 
that the military and political systems of Germany were equally 


226 European History, 1 273-1494 

rotten. The more patriotic of the princes, like Frederick of 

Brandenburg, were driven to consider the necessity of some 

drastic reform. The restoration of monarchical 

Attempted . 

reforms in authority was the most obvious remedy for dis- 
Germany. or der, but the general distrust of Sigismund put 
that out of the question. The old alliance of the Hohen- 
zollerns with the Luxemburg kings had now come to an end. 
In 1422 Albert 111., the last of the Ascanian electors of Saxony, 
died, leaving no obvious heir. His only daughter was married 
to the eldest son of the Elector of Brandenburg. A few years 
earlier Sigismund would have welcomed the opportunity of 
increasing the territorial and political influence of his chief 
supporter in Germany. But things had changed since the 
Council of Constance, the Hohenzollern claims were dis- 
regarded, and the vacant electorate was conferred by Sigis- 
mund upon Frederick of Meissen, the founder of the Wettin 
line in Saxony, which has ruled there till the present day. This 
marks the final rupture between Sigismund and the Elector 
of Brandenburg ; and in attempting to reform the constitution 
of Germany the latter found himself in opposition to his 
former patron. In 1422 it had been proposed at a diet at 
Niirnberg to raise a mercenary army in place of the feudal 
troops, and to defray the expense by levying a general 
imperial tax of one per cent., 'the hundredth penny/ as it 
was called. But this project was foiled by the opposition of 
the towns, who feared that they would have to pay the money 
while the princes would pocket it. In 1424 the electors 
formed a close league among themselves, and practically 
assumed to act as if they were the joint heads of a federation. 
Sigismund was furious at this open disregard of his authority, 
and prepared to go to war against Frederick of Brandenburg 
and his associates. Hostilities had actually broken out, when 
the news arrived that the Hussites, who had hitherto been 
content with standing on the defensive, were invading the 
neighbouring German provinces. The Pope was roused by 
this to make new efforts for the success of a crusade, and he 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 227 

appointed Cardinal Beaufort, the uncle of Henry vi. of 
England, to act as papal legate. At the same time another 
attempt was made to strengthen the military organisation of 
Germany. At a diet at Frankfort (April 1427) the old 
mode of levying troops was abandoned, and it was agreed 
that one out of every twenty adult males should be chosen 
by lot. In this way it was hoped to eradicate the provincial 
jealousies, which had hitherto been a fatal source of discord. 
Fredei .A of Brandenburg was to act as commander-in-chief. 
But the financial difficulty was still in the way. None of the 
proposed taxes could be carried, and at last they had to fall 
back upon the tenths granted by the Pope and a poll-tax on 
the Jews. The army collected was the largest The fourth 
that had yet been employed in the war ; but the crusade, 1487. 
result was all the more ignominious. On the news that 
Prokop and his dreaded Taborites were at hand, the crusaders 
fled in headlong confusion. On the frontier they were met 
by Cardinal Beaufort, who implored them to return, and in 
his rage tore the imperial standard to pieces, and trampled it 
underfoot. But it was all in vain, and the legate was swept 
away with the panic-stricken mob. 

This was the most ignominious reverse yet experienced, 
and under the impression which it produced a new diet at 
Frankfort hastened to adopt the most far-reaching Reforms of 
reforms. A regular income-tax was imposed, and I < 3 7- 
a general poll-tax graduated according to rank. The revenue 
thus derived was to be collected by local delegates, and paid 
to the central power. But this central power was not the 
German monarchy. The two commanders-in-chief, Cardinal 
Beaufort and Frederick of Brandenburg, were to be aided by 
a council of nine, consisting of one nominee of each of the 
six electors, and three representatives of the imperial towns. 
This body was authorised to raise fresh troops, or to levy 
additional taxes. Such an arrangement amounted to a prac- 
tical deposition of Sigismund, whose authority was transferred 
to this new federal council. But the reform was little more 

228 European History \ 1273- 1494 

than a paper scheme. The forces of disunion were too strong 
to be readily overcome. Much of the money remained un- 
paid, and in consequence the troops could neither be raised 
nor equipped. Frederick of Brandenburg was forced to fall 
back upon the policy of negotiation which he had always 
favoured. He saw clearly that every invasion of Bohemia 
strengthened the extreme party, and that the only prospect 
of settlement lay in gaining over the moderates to the German 
side. But the negotiations were foiled by the irresolution of 
Sigismund, the discord among the German princes, and the 
obstinacy of the Pope. Cardinal Beaufort was ordered to 
lead a new crusade in 1429, but he found it necessary to 
disarm domestic opponents by sending the troops he had 
raised to serve in France. Martin v. was furious but impotent. 
In 1430 he appointed a new legate, Cardinal Cesarini, in 
Fifth place of Beaufort, and in 143 1 a German army 

crusade, 1431. was at i ast co n e cted on the principles laid down 
in 1427. In August it crossed the frontier, and encamped 
under the walls of Tauss. But on the news of Prokop's 
approach, the old panic set in, and the troops fled in con- 
fusion. With the so-called battle of Tauss the fifth crusade, 
the last effort to crush the Hussite by force of arms, came to 
an end. The war had lasted twelve years, and had given 
convincing proofs of the evils of provincial disunion, but it 
had come two centuries too late to inspire the Germans with 
a sense of national duties and interests. From this time the 
only hope of restoring peace in eastern Europe lay in the 
proceedings of the General Council, which had already been 
summoned to meet at Basel. 

One of the most important decrees of the Council of Con- 
stance had provided for the sequence of future councils ; and 
Summons of tnou g n Martin v. looked upon the arrangement 
the council of with profound mistrust, he dared not wholly dis- 
Basei, 1431. re g ar d it. The first of these assemblies met in 
1423, first at Pavia and then at Siena. It was attended only 
by Italian prelates, who were easily manageable, and it was 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 229 

dissolved without passing any important enactments except 
that its successor was to meet in 143 1 at Basel. As the time 
approached Martin began to be filled with dread of another 
Council beyond the Alps. But the condition of Europe was 
too disturbed, and the danger too great of allowing Bohemian 
heresy to spread, for him to run the risk of alienating 
Germany by changing the place of meeting. On February 1 
he ordered the Council to meet on March 4, and appointed 
Cardinal Cesarini to preside as his representative. On 
February 20 Martin v. died, leaving his successor Eugenius iv. 
to face the dangers and difficulties which he foresaw. 

Very few prelates appeared in Basel at the appointed date ; 
but the defeat of the Germans at Tauss suddenly gave great 
importance to the Council, as offering the only prospect of 
the conclusion of peace. In September Cesarini arrived from 
Bohemia, and from this time numbers rapidly Procedure ot 
increased. The first matter for consideration the Council, 
was the method of procedure. It was decided to abandon 
the division into nations, which had been tried at Constance, 
on the ground that national jealousy weakened the unity of 
the Council. Instead, the Council was to be divided into 
four deputations, composed of representatives from each 
nation. Each deputation was to consider a separate subject : 
(1) the restoration of peace ; (2) matters of doctrine and 
faith ; (3) the reform of the Church ; (4) the general business 
of the Council. When a matter had been discussed in a 
deputation, it was to be brought before the whole Council, 
anb votes were to be taken dy deputations. If they were 
equally divided, the deputations were to be re-fonned, and 
the question debated afresh. A committee of twelve was 
formed to arrange the division into deputations, and to decide 
on the right of any individual to take part in the Council. 
From the first this committee took a very broad view in this 
matter, and the result was that the Council soon began to 
assume a democratic character. At Constance the great 
prelates and university dignitaries had been the dominant 

230 European History, 1273- 1494 

force : at Basel power tended to fall into the nands of the 
mass of the clergy. 

The most pressing business of the Council was to negotiate 
with the victorious Hussites, and under the influence of 
Quarrel with Cesarini it was decided to invite the Bohemians 
Eugeniusiv. t0 send delegates to Basel. This gave the 
greatest umbrage in Rome, where the dangers from Bohemia 
were less keenly felt, and the prejudice against any dealings 
with excommunicated heretics was strongest. Eugenius iv., 
who was much less prudent and statesmanlike than his pre- 
decessor, determined to check such dangerous proceedings at 
the outset. On December 18, 143 1, he issued a bull dissolv- 
ing the Council, and summoning another to meet in eighteen 
months at Bologna. The bull dropped like a bomb-shell in 
the peaceful deliberations of Basel, where no thought of the 
possible displeasure of the Pope had been entertained. But 
after the first feeling of dismay, it was resolved to resist. 
Cesarini was profoundly convinced that the dissolution of the 
Council would result in the complete alienation of Germany 
and the triumph of the Hussite heresy, and he wrote an 
earnest letter to explain his views. Sigismund and all the 
princes whose interests demanded peace were inclined to 
support the Council, which was thus emboldened to make 
a firm stand against the Pope. In February 1432 it was 
decided that a General Council could not be dissolved without 
its own consent ; and in April the Pope and cardinals were 
ordered to present themselves at Basel within three months. 
A new schism seemed likely to break out, not as before 
between rival heads of the Church, but between the Church 
itself and its head. The contest was between parliamentary 
and despotic authority, and it was as difficult 'n the Church 
as in the State to reconcile their rival pretensions. 

In the end the Pope was forced to give way, partly by the 
pressure of secular interests, and partly by the difficulties in 
which he was involved in Italy. In 1432 Sigismund came 
to Rome to receive the imperial crown from the Pope, and 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 231 

refused to abandon the cause of the Council, which he hoped 
might secure his tardy recognition in Bohemia. In 1433 the 
partiality of Eugenius for his native city of Venice submission 
involved him in a quarrel with Filippo Maria of the Pope. 
Visconti. The mercenary troops of Milan, aided by the 
Colonnas, whom Eugenius sought to abase from the position 
Martin v. had given them, laid siege to Rome, and the Pope 
could only save himself from imprisonment by an ignominious 
flight to Florence. In these circumstances he could hardly 
hope for a victory over the recalcitrant Council, and in 
December 1433 ne abandoned the unequal contest. He 
declared the Council of Basel to be a lawful oecumenical 
council, and confirmed its decrees. 

The papal recognition came in time to give increased 
importance and authority to the Council's negotiations with 
the Bohemians, which had been carried on with- 

. , . , . , _ . The 

out interruption during the quarrel with Eugenius. compacts 
Bohemian deputies, including Prokop himself — as with 
redoubtable a theologian as he was a general — had 
been admitted to Basel at the end of 1432, and had carried 
on for three months a disputation with the speakers of the 
Council. The basis of discussion was supplied by the four 
articles of Prague, and, thanks to the conciliatory temper of 
Cesarini, the controversy had rarely gone beyond the decen- 
cies of orderly debate. No definite agreement was arrived 
at at Basel, but it was agreed that delegates from the Council 
should in their turn proceed to negotiate with the diet at 
Prague. There, after infinite labour, a rudimentary com- 
promise was arranged in what are called the Compactata. On 
the great question of the cup the Council had to give way, and 
the Bohemians and Moravians were to be allowed to receive 
the communion in both kinds. Liberty of preaching was 
nominally conceded, but it was added that priests must be 
ordained by their ecclesiastical superiors, and that the autho- 
rity of bishops must be obeyed. Clergy were to be punished 
for crimes ' according to the law of God and the ordinances 

232 European History, 1273- 1494 

of the fathers.' On the question of clerical property the 
Council gained the day. The right of the Church to possess 
and administer heritable property was fully recognised, and 
it was declared sacrilege for a layman to interfere with it. 

The Compactata were very far from being an authoritative 
treaty, but their importance lies in the fact that they secured 
Civil war in the approval of the nobles and moderate party in 
Bohemia. Bohemia, who had long desired the restoration 
of peace and order. The Taborites and the army, on the 
other hand, were resolute in condemning the proposed terms, 
and the quarrel developed into open war. At Lipan, in April 
Battle of x 434> the Taborites found themselves confronted 
Lipan, 1434. by men who had learned tactics in the same school 
as themselves. They were enticed from their waggon-fortress 
by a feigned flight, while a troop of cavalry cut off their 
retreat. Prokop himself was slain, and the army, which had 
been so long the terror of Europe, was almost wholly cut to 
pieces. With the downfall of the extreme party the chief 
difficulty in the way of the restoration of the monarchy was 
removed. But the nobles were not prepared for an uncon- 
ditional submission to Sigismund. They demanded, among 
si ismund otner things, a complete amnesty and the exclusion 
acknowledged from office of all who refused to receive the com- 
in Bohemia. mun i n in both kinds. Sigismund found it neces- 
sary to at any rate feign compliance, and in August 1436 he 
made his formal entry into Prague. As a European question 
the Hussite movement may be regarded as having come to 
an end. Not that Bohemia was really pacified, or that the 
doctrines of Hus had been abandoned, but all danger of any 
general adoption of these doctrines in central Europe had 
disappeared. As long as the Hussites were supported by the 
forces of national enthusiasm they had been irresistible: 
their defeat was due to their own dissensions. 

In 1434 the Council of Basel was at the height of its power 
and reputation. Eugenius iv. had been forced to recognise 
its authority. Its negotiations with the Bohemians had not 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 233 

indeed produced a definite treaty, but they had resulted in 
dividing the moderate from the extreme party, and the defeat 
of the latter had brought a peaceful settlement within measur- 
able distance. Encouraged by these successes, the Council 
undertook with energy the task of reforming the Reformin ~ 
Church. A series of decrees show how strong activity of 
was the dislike of the despotic rule of the Papacy. the CounciL 
Papal reservations, by which the right of patrons to appoint 
to benefices was evaded, were declared illegal. The estab- 
lishment of diocesan and provincial synods was recommended. 
Appeals from the decision of a bishop to Rome were forbidden. 
But these measures were surpassed in boldness by an edict 
of June 1435, which forbade the payment of annates, or the 
first year's revenue of a bishopric or benefice. This threatened 
to deprive the Pope of his chief source of revenue, and pro- 
voked a violent outcry from the cardinals and officials of the 
Curia. But Eugenius iv., still an exile from Rome, did not 
feel strong enough to resist. He accepted the decree, only 
asking that some compensation in the way of national contri- 
butions should be given him. This pusillanimity encouraged 
the Council to further attacks on the papal power. The un- 
restricted right of the chapters to elect bishops was confirmed : 
all papal commendations were done away with : appeals from 
a General Council to the Pope were declared to be heretical. 
The extreme measures of the Council were fatal to its unity. 
It was felt that many of the decrees were inspired by French 
and German antipathy to Italian preponderance Divisions in 
in the Church. At the same time the numerical the CounciL 
majority of the lower clergy was regarded with growing mis- 
trust by the bishops and other dignitaries. Reforms might 
begin with the Papacy, but were not likely to stop there. 
Cesarini and other moderate men, who had supported the 
Council as long as the Bohemian negotiations were at a 
critical stage, were now inclined to rally to the cause of the 
Pope. This growing papal party found an active and un- 
scrupulous leader in the Bishop of Taranto, whose aim was 

234 European History \ 1273- 1494 

to bring about an irreconcilable quarrel between the Pope 
and the Council. On the other side, the reforming and anti- 
Italian party was headed by the Cardinal Archbishop of Aries, 
a prelate of unquestioned piety and learning, but a resolute 
antagonist of the Papacy and perhaps a personal enemy of 
Eugenius iv. On the same side was a man destined to play 
an important part in the history of the Council and of 
Christendom, ^Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini. He was a native 
of Siena who had come to Basel in the suite of the Bishop 
of Fermo, and had since acted as secretary to various prelates. 
He had made a name for himself by his oratorical powers, 
the purity of his Latin style, and his diplomatic ability. He 
had attached himself to the reforming party, but no one sus- 
pected him of having any firm convictions, and those who 
knew his easy and pleasure-loving nature can have had little 
expectation that he would one day rise to the headship of the 
Church. Between the two extreme parties at the Council was 
a moderate section, headed by a Spaniard, John of Segovia, 
but it was neither numerous nor important. 

The quarrel within the Council and the growing hostility 
between the Council and the Pope were both brought to a 
Ne otiations nea< ^ D y tne negotiations with the Greeks. The 
with the eastern Emperor, John vl, though not actually at 
Greeks. war with ^ Ottoman Turks, felt that they were 

closing round him on every side, and that an attack on Con- 
stantinople was before long inevitable. In his despair he 
appealed for the assistance of western Europe, and was pre- 
pared to purchase it by sacrificing the independence of the 
Greek Church. The idea of uniting the Eastern and 
Western Churches had long been cherished by the Popes, 
and Eugenius iv. was the more eager to take the matter up 
as it offered the prospect of a triumph over the hated Council 
of Basel. But the Greeks were fully aware of the divisions 
in the Western Church, and sent envoys to the Council as 
well as to the Pope. Hence arose an eager competition as to 
which should gain control of the negotiations. The Council 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 235 

offered to send a fleet to bring the Greek prelates to the 
coast, and to pay all the expenses of their stay at Basel. To 
raise the money necessary for the fulfilment of these promises, 
the Council usurped a papal prerogative and issued indulgences 
to those who would contribute to the union of the Churches. 
Eugenius, on his side, issued a memorial to the princes of 
Europe, in which he enumerated the misdeeds of the Council, 
and promised to undertake the reform of the Church with the 
aid of another Council, which for the sake of the Greeks would 
be held in some Italian city. 

Meanwhile the Greek question had provoked violent dis- 
putes in Basel. The papal legates proposed that for the 
convenience of the Greeks they should adjourn 
either to Florence or to Udine in the territories between 8 " 
of Venice. The moderate party suggested Pavia, p °P e and 
as being less dependent upon the Pope, and this 
received the support of ^Eneas Sylvius, who was beginning 
to veer round to the papal side. But the extreme party 
would not hear of either proposal. The Archbishop of Aries 
moved that the Council should remain at Basel or, if the 
Greeks preferred it, should adjourn to Avignon. The debates 
were marked by the most unseemly behaviour, and it was 
with difficulty that the reverend fathers could be restrained 
from laying violent hands upon each other. The motion of 
the anti-papal party was carried by more than three-fifths 
of the Council ; but the next morning it was discovered that 
this had been abstracted, and that the decree of the papal 
minority, duly signed and sealed, had been put in its place. 
This audacious piece of trickery was attributed to the Arch 
bishop of Taranto, and so great was the indignation against 
him that he found it advisable to flee to Italy, where he was 
rewarded by Eugenius with the cardinal's hat. And the 
anger of the majority was not diminished when they learned 
that the Greeks had been persuaded to accept the papal in- 
vitation to attend a Council in Italy. The Council was driven 
to the most extreme measures to try and discredit the Papacy. 

236 European History \ 1273- 1494 

In July 1437 the Pope and cardinals were summoned to 
appear at Basel within sixty days to answer the charges 
brought against them. On October 1 Eugenius was pro- 
nounced contumacious for not having obeyed the summons. 
The Pope, on his side, had issued a bull (September 18) 
dissolving the Council at Basel, and summoning an assembly 
to meet at Ferrara in order to effect the union of the Churches. 
There was no longer any room in Basel for partisans of the 
Papacy, and by the beginning of 1438 Cesarini and all who 
were frightened by the extreme measures of the Council had 
crossed the Alps. 

Eugenius presided at the Council, which met at Ferrara in 

1438 and on the outbreak of the plague was transferred to 

., m Florence. Months were spent in futile debates 

Council of . 

Ferrara or on the differences between the two Churches. 
Florence, gy f ar tne most prominent subject of discussion 
was the great filioqut controversy. The Latin 
Church had added these words to the original wording of 
the creed as fixed at the Council of Nicaea, while the Greek 
Church had never adopted them. The other differences which 
gave rise to debate were the use of leavened or unleavened 
bread in the sacrament, the doctrine of purgatory, and the 
papal supremacy. The Greek Church, as the petitioning 
body, was ultimately forced to accept, without being con- 
vinced, the Roman views on all four questions. A decree 
for the union of the two Churches was drawn up, and Eugenius 
thought he was celebrating the crowning triumph of the 
Papacy (July 6, 1439). But, as far as actual results went, 
the triumph was premature. The Greeks at home refused 
to accept the decision of their representatives, and clamoured 
that they had been betrayed. Nor did John vi. gain any aid 
to make up for the unpopularity he had incurred. Western 
Europe was fatally divided against itself, and paid little heed 
to the safety of Constantinople. The union of the Greek 
and Latin Churches remained a mere document. 

The quarrel between the Pope and the Council of Basel 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 237 

had become irreconcilable when the latter was deserted by 
all the adherents of Eugenius, and when Cesarini was suc- 
ceeded as president by the Archbishop of Aries. Attitude of 
The result of the quarrel could only be decided France and 
by the adhesion of the secular states to one side or erman y- 
the other. The two states to which the Council chiefly looked 
for support were Germany and France, the countries from 
which most of the remaining members were drawn. But 
these two states, instead of warmly espousing the cause of 
the Council, seemed rather inclined to take advantage of the 
schism to establish their own ecclesiastical independence. 
In 1438 a synod of French clergy accepted the Pra&matic 
famous Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, the foun- Sanction of 
dation of the liberties of the Gallican Church. Bour * e8 ' x « 8 - 
This measure adopted, in the special interests of France, 
most of the decrees against the papal power which had been 
carried in the Council as applying to the whole Church. 
France was beginning to recover from the prolonged wars 
with Burgundy and En^and, and the Pragmatic Sanction 
offered the supreme advantage of checking the drain of 
French wealth to fill the coffers of the Pope. In Germany 
Sigismund had died in 1437, and the electors and leading 
princes began by adopting a policy of strict neutrality between 
the Council and the Papacy. But the policy adopted by 
France offered temptations both to lay and clerical princes, 
and a diet at Mainz drew up what was practically Pragmatic 
the German equivalent of the Pragmatic Sanction Sanction of 
of Bourges. Annates were to be abolished, papal Mainz ' I439> 
reservations and provisions forbidden, provincial and diocesan 
synods organised. The conception of national churches, 
which had been encouraged by Martin v.'s concordats at 
Constance, seemed in 1439 to be strong enough to rend the 
Church in pieces. 

The loss of temporal support and the apparent success of 
the rival assembly in Italy did not soothe the temper of the 
councillors at Basel. In spite of the vigorous opposition of 

238 European History, 1273- 1494 

the moderate party, they proceeded to accuse Eugenius iv. 
of heresy and schism, and by a decree of June 25, 1439, he 
Deposition of was f° rmal ly deposed. It was now determined 
Eugenius iv., to proceed to a new election. As the Archbishop 
I439 " of Aries was the only cardinal at Basel, it was 

decided that he should be aided by thirty-two delegates from 
the Council. The task of election was a difficult one, as the 
poverty of the Council made it necessary to choose a Pope 
who could afford to defray his own expenses. At the fifth 
scrutiny it was found that twenty-six votes had been given for 
the Duke of Savoy, who was declared Pope, with the name 
of Felix v. From the first he disappointed the hopes of his 
Election of electors. Although he had been living in retire- 
Felix v. ment since the death of his wife and had amassed 
a considerable treasure, he had no intention of maintaining 
himself and the Council from his private funds. He demanded 
that he should receive a revenue as Pope, and the Council 
was forced to go back on its own decrees and to grant him a 
fifth of ecclesiastical revenues for a year. This measure was 
certain to alienate all who had supported the Council in the 
hope of diminishing clerical taxes, and as a matter of fact the 
tax was only paid within the territories of Savoy. From all 
points of view the election was a very disadvantageous step. It 
Declining disgusted those who had hoped for a substantial 
prestige of measure of reform from the Council of Basel, 
the Council. ^ \ 0Xi ^ as t he dispute was between a General 
Council and the Pope, there were certain principles at stake 
which might induce men to give energetic support to one side 
or the other. But by its last act the Council had merely 
revived a personal schism, of which Europe was already 
profoundly weary. The Council of Basel continued to exist 
for nine years after the election of Felix v., but every year its 
numbers and its influence steadily declined. Even the Anti- 
pope quarrelled with the assembly to which he owed his 
appointment. In 1444 Felix quitted Basel and took up his 
residence at Lausanne. 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 239 

The ultimate victory of Eugenius iv. was assured by the 
mistakes of his opponents. It only remained for him to 
complete his triumph by securing the support Triumph of 
of the temporal powers of Europe. While he Eugenius iv. 
resided in Florence his legates succeeded in restoring the 
papal supremacy in Rome, and in 1443 he was able once 
more to return to his capital city. He was careful to avoid 
the mistakes in Italian politics which had cost him so deal 
in 1433. Even his arch-opponent, Filippo Maria Visconti, 
was gained over to his side. The recognition of France was 
purchased by the countenance which the Pope gave to the 
Angevin cause in Naples. But when the Neapolitan war 
ended in the victory of Alfonso of Aragon, Eugenius adroitly 
changed sides without forfeiting the French allegiance. He 
had thus put an end to all serious opposition in Italy. 
England and the Spanish kingdoms took little interest in the 
schism, and had no motive for supporting Felix v. There 
remained Germany, which had openly declared for a policy of 
neutrality. Until the German king and princes could be gained 
over, the revival of papal authority was incomplete. The task 
of effecting the reconciliation of Germany was undertaken and 
accomplished by one man, ^Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini. 

The kingship of the Romans was transferred on the death 
of Sigismund to his son-in-law, Albert of Austria. But Albert 
died within two years of his elevation, and in Reconciiia- 
1440 the choice of the electors fell upon another * ion of 

Germany to 

Hapsburg, Frederick m., Duke of Styria and the Roman 
Carinthia, and guardian in Austria of Albert's Pope - 
infant son, Ladislas Postumus. As soon as Frederick had 
settled family affairs in the east, he came to Germany in 1442 
to receive the crown at Aachen and to consider the question 
of the schism. Envoys from Basel and from Eugenius iv. 
had already appeared before the German diet, but their 
exhaustive arguments had not led to any decision, and the 
neutrality was still observed. In 1442 Frederick in. visited 
Basel, and there took into his service ^Eneas Sylvius. The 

240 European History -, 1273- 1494 

latter was convinced that the cause of Council and Antipope 
was hopeless, and determined to win his own pardon and 
advancement by rendering some conspicuous service to 
Eugenius iv. His diplomacy was as successful as it was 
unscrupulous. By 1445 he had succeeded in arranging 
terms between his master and the Pope. Frederick under- 
took to restore Germany to its obedience to Rome; and 
Eugenius in return promised to give him the imperial crown, 
to allow him the nomination to certain bishoprics and bene- 
fices, and to grant him a substantial bribe from the ecclesi- 
astical revenues. It was a disgraceful treaty, and in spite of 
the secrecy with which it was negotiated, it became known 
that some such agreement was being made. The German 
princes were indignant at what they considered a betrayal, 
and were resolute to vindicate their own independence of 
their elected king. The electors of Trier and Koln, together 
with a number of electoral princes, determined, as a protest 
against Frederick's conduct, to adhere to Felix v. Thus the 
policy of neutrality was abandoned, and Germany was split 
into parties on the question of the schism. To make matters 
worse, Eugenius iv., emboldened by his treaty with the King 
of the Romans, issued a bull in February 1446 declaring the 
Archbishops of Koln and Trier to be deprived of their sees 
as heretics and traitors. This rash act seemed to make 
reconciliation impossible. But ^Eneas Sylvius was equal to 
the occasion. The electors issued the'most extreme demands : 
that the Pope should withdraw his bull against the two arch- 
bishops, that he should confirm the Pragmatic Sanction of 
1439, acknowledge the supremacy of General Councils, and 
summon a new council to meet in Germany in 1447. ^Eneas 
Sylvius journeyed to Rome, where he persuaded Eugenius to 
restore the two archbishops, and to return a moderate answer 
to the electoral demands. Then he proceeded to Germany 
as papal envoy, bribed the Archbishop of Mainz to desert the 
electoral league, and did not hesitate to alter the wording of 
the papal answer in order to conciliate German pride. By 

The Hussite Wars and the Council of Basel 24 1 

these means he avoided an open rupture, and induced the 
diet at Frankfort to agree to terms, in spite of the protests of 
the Archbishops of Koln and Trier. Then ./Eneas Sylvius 
hurried back to Rome, with envoys from the diet, in order to 
explain and justify his conduct to the Pope. He found 
Eugenius iv. on his death-bed, and it was necessary to hasten 
matters in order to avoid the complications that might arise 
with a new election. A provisional concordat was patched 
up. A new council was to meet in some German town, but 
only if the German princes were agreed. The supremacy of 
a council was recognised, but in the most general terms, so 
as to avoid any reference to the assembly at Basel. The 
Pragmatic Sanction and the suspension of annates were tem- 
porarily confirmed, until some final arrangement could be 
agreed upon. These terms were accepted by Eugenius on 
February 23, 1447, and four days later he died. His suc- 
cessor was the famous scholar and collector, Thomas of 
Sarzana, who took the name of Nicolas v. He was wise 
enough to follow the recent policy of his predecessor in 
German affairs. ^Eneas Sylvius returned to Germany to 
complete his work. The malcontent princes were gained 
over by separate negotiations. When the obstinate Arch- 
bishop of Trier was induced to acknowledge Nicolas v., 
opposition in Germany was at an end. The final concordat 
was arranged in 1448, and was based upon the provisional 
terms of the previous year. The clauses about the Council 
were accepted as they stood, but on the other points the Pope 
gained substantial advantages. Annates were restored, and 
the restrictions which had been placed upon papal patronage 
by the Pragmatic Sanction were for the most part repealed. 

It only remained to get rid of the moribund Council of 
Basel. A few bishops from Savoy and some clergy of humble 
rank were the only members left. Frederick in. „ . r . 

J , End of the 

sent an order for the dissolution of the Council Council of 
to the civic magistrates. The exiled members Basel - x *49- 
proceeded to Lausanne, and there, by the mediation of 

242 European History \ 1273- 1494 

France, made terms with the Papacy. Felix v., who had 
never received the homage of a temporal sovereign, resigned 
the papal title in exchange for the cardinal's hat. The Arch- 
bishop of Aries returned to his see, where he was universally 
beloved. He died in 1450, and in the next century was 
canonised by Clement vn. 

With the Council of Basel ended the conciliar movement 
for reform, which had resulted from the scandal of the great 
Failure of the schism. It had failed, not from any lack of 
Conciliar honest purpose, or from the blunders of its 
adherents, but because it was out of harmony 
with the conditions of the age. A few centuries earlier it 
might have been possible to reform the Church, and at the 
same time to retain its unity. But by the fifteenth century 
such a scheme was too late. Political division had advanced 
so far as to bring with it ecclesiastical divisions. The senti- 
ment that was recognised in the concordats of Martin v. and 
asserted in the Pragmatic Sanctions of Bourges and Mainz, 
was stronger than the theory of the supremacy of a general 
council over the Pope. The Reformation of the sixteenth 
century was a series of national revolts against papal domina- 
tion, and it owed its success to its harmony with political 
conditions and interests. 

The failure of the conciliar movement brought with it a 
revival of papal authority. The reaction which had com- 
menced under Martin v. seemed to be complete under 
Nicolas v. The great jubilee which was held in Rome in 
1450 was a fitting celebration of the papal triumph. But it 
proved to be only a Pyrrhic victory. The Papacy learned 
neither wisdom nor toleration from the trials through which 
it had passed. While continuing to trample on the spirit of 
individual freedom, the Popes, in their greed for temporal 
dominion, gave rise to scandals far more glaring from the 
moral point of view than the senile bickerings of the schism. 
The Protestant revolution more than avenged the defeat of 
the Councils of Constance and Basel. 



Disruption of the duchy of Milan after the dt-ath of Gian Galeazzo Visconti — 
Venice acquires Eastern Lombardy as far as the Adige — Wars between 
Venice and Sigismund— Filippo Maria Visconti restores the duchy of 
Milan— Wars between Venice and Milan— Venetian frontier extended to 
the Adda — Death of Filippo Maria — Venice and Francesco Sforza — Peace 
of Lodi — Deposition and death of Francesco Foscari — Venice and the 
Turks — Treaty of Constantinople— War with Ferrara — Acquisition of 
Cyprus — Decline of Venice — Francesco Sforza in Milan — His relations 
with France — Galeazzo Maria Sforza — His assassination — Regency of 
Bona of Savoy — Ludovico il Moro — His relations with Naples — Calls in 
Charles vm. of France. 

The anarchy in the duchy of Milan, which followed the 
death of Gian Galeazzo Visconti in 1402, illustrates at once 
the ability of its founder and the difficulties Disruption of 
which he had succeeded in overcoming. He left th f duchy of 
his dominions to his two legitimate sons, Gian 
Maria and Filippo Maria, who were to rule in Milan and 
Pavia respectively under the guardianship of their mother. 
But the widowed duchess, Caterina, proved wholly unable to 
wield the power which her husband left in her hands. The 
condottieri, who had shown such unwonted loyalty to Gian 
Galeazzo, seized the opportunity to carve out principalities 
for themselves. In nearly every city of Lombardy the lord- 
ship was seized by some adventurer, who sought to make 
himself independent. In Milan itself the cruelties with 
which Caterina sought to put down disorder provoked an 

insurrection. The duchess was imprisoned and poisoned 


244 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

(1404), and Gian Maria was intrusted with the government 
under the guidance of a council of citizens. But Gian Maria 
carried the cruelty and debauchery of his predecessors to the 
verge of insanity. The only use which he made of his power 
was to gratify his monstrous passions by the torture of his 
fellow-creatures. At last some semblance of order was restored 
by Facino Cane, one of the most eminent generals in the service 
of Gian Galeazzo. On the death of his employer he had made 
himself master of Alessandria, Tortona, and other western 
towns. Later he had assumed the regency for Filippo Maria in 
Pavia, and he now reduced Gian Maria to similar submission. 
This authority he held till his death, when the Milanese 
nobles, rather than allow Gian Maria to recover the govern- 
ment, assassinated that youthful monster in 141 2. 

These disorders in Lombardy naturally led to the loss ot 
the southern acquisitions of Gian Galeazzo. The hostility 
Losses in of Po P e Boniface ix- had to be bought off by the 
Romagnaand restoration of Bologna and Perugia to the papal 
states (1403). Siena recovered its republican 
liberties in 1404, and Paolo Guinigi maintained his rule in 
Lucca as an independent prince. Pisa, the most important 
of the Milanese conquests, had been bequeathed by Gian 
Galeazzo to a bastard son, Gabriele Maria. But Gabriele, 
finding himself unable to face the double danger of Pisan 
rebellion and Florentine attack, became the vassal of France 
in order to gain the aid of Marshal Boucicault, the French 
governor in Genoa. Within a year, however, he had 
quarrelled with his suzerain : the policy of France ceased to 
be hostile to Florence : and so the strange spectacle was seen 
of Boucicault and Gabriele, in mutual enmity, selling their 
sovereign rights to Florence, while the Pisans repudiated the 
authority of both and reclaimed their old independence 
(1405). The Florentine oligarchy was prompt to seize the 
opportunity that had long been looked for, and a strict 
blockade forced Pisa to surrender after an obstinate resist- 
ance of many months (October 9, 1406). By the reduction 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 245 

of the rival republic, Florence took the first gieat stride 
towards the formation of the later grand duchy of Tuscany. 

But the most notable result of the temporary decline of 
Milan was the permanent establishment of Venetian dominion 
in Eastern Lombardy, an event fraught with the Venice ac 
most momentous consequences both for Venice quires Verona 
and for Italy. Francesco Carrara, who had an 
recovered Padua in 1390, and had been allowed to retain it 
under tribute to Milan (see p. 180), was one of the first 
princes to take advantage of Gian Galeazzo's death to obtain 
both freedom and aggrandisement. In alliance with the 
surviving members of the house of della Scala he seized 
Verona, and then got rid of his allies in order to keep his 
conquest to himself (1404). From Verona he advanced to 
the siege of Vicenza, but the citizens offered the lordship to 
Venice, while the duchess Caterina, beset with difficulties in 
Milan, also appealed for aid to the maritime republic. This 
double invitation, together with the traditional enmity to the 
Carrara family, overcame any reluctance on the part of the 
Venetians. They agreed to aid the duchess on condition 
that all Milanese territory to the east of the Adige should be 
ceded to them. Caterina accepted the terms, hard as they 
were, and in June 1404 Venice declared war against the lord 
of Padua. Vicenza opened its gates to the Venetians, and 
in the course of 1405 both Verona and Padua were com- 
pelled to surrender to superior forces. Francesco Carrara 
was carried off to die in a Venetian prison. 

Venice had now recovered and enormously extended the 
territories she had lost in the war of Chioggia. Not only 
Treviso, Feltre, and Belluno, but Bassano, Verona, Venice at 
Vicenza, and Padua acknowledged her sway, war with 
And before long she was in possession of another Sl * lsmund - 
province, Dalmatia, which she had gained from Hungary, 
and lost again in the previous century. Pope Boniface ix., 
engaged in a quarrel with Sigismund of Hungary, had stirred 
up Ladislas of Naples to revive his father's claim to the 

246 European History, 1273- 1494 

Hungarian crown (see pp. 154 and 191). In 1402 Ladislas 
had landed at Zara in Dalmatia, and was crowned king by the 
papal legate. But his early success was followed by reverses, 
and, discouraged by the memory of his father's fate, Ladislas 
returned to Naples. But he was not unwilling to cause 
annoyance to his successful rival, and in 1409 he sold his 
rights in Dalmatia to Venice. This led to a prolonged war 
with Sigismund, who in 141 1 was recognised as king of the 
Romans, and desired to gain distinction and authority in 
Italy. In 141 1 his troops occupied Feltre and Belluno, but 
they were defeated in the open field by Carlo Malatesta in 
the service of Venice. In 141 3 a truce put an end to 
hostilities for a time, and Sigismund was enabled to con- 
centrate his attention on ecclesiastical questions and the 
council of Constance. But the possession of Dalmatia was 
still a subject of dispute, and war was renewed in 14 18. 
Sigismund, however, was occupied with the difficulties which 
the execution of Hus had excited in Bohemia, and Venice 
met with little efficient opposition. By 142 1 the province of 
Friuli and almost the whole of the Dalmatian coast were 
subject to Venetian rule. 

Meanwhile important events had taken place in Milan. 
On the murder of his elder brother, Filippo Maria Visconti 
Fiiippo Maria had emerged from the obscurity in which he had 
visconti. previously lived, and showed himself not unfitted 
to fill his father's place. With even greater personal 
cowardice, which induced him to conceal himself almost 
entirely from human vision, he combined the same subtle 
powers of intrigue, and the same ability to discover and make 
use of military talent in others. Only two defects of character 
prevented him from achieving the same measure of success 
as had fallen to Gian Galeazzo. He was less resolute in the 
pursuit of his ends, and momentary discouragement led him 
at times to relinquish an object when it was almost within his 
grasp. And his inveterate habits of suspicion involved him 
not infrequently in serious danger by driving into opposition 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 247 

the men who were capable of rendering him the most 
valuable services. It was impossible to be loyal to a prince 
who distrusted a victorious general even more than he 
dreaded to hear of a defeat. 

The first act of Filippo Maria was to marry the widow of 
Facino Cane, although she was twenty years older than 
himself. By this means he acquired Alessandria, He rest0 res 
Tortona, Novara, and Vercelli, and also the the duchy of 
control of Facino's numerous and disciplined 
troops. With their aid he made himself master of Milan 
and avenged his brother's death. Once secure in his position, 
he did not scruple to rid himself of his elderly benefactress, 
whose age rendered her an unsuitable spouse. In the attack 
upon Milan he had noted the courage and conduct of 
Francesco Carmagnola, who took his name from the village 
near Turin where he had been born. He raised the Pied 
montese soldier to the command of his army, and employed 
him to reduce to submission the cities which had formerly 
owned his father's sway. One after another the despots who 
had usurped authority since the death of Gian Galeazzo were 
compelled to surrender, and by 142 1 the duchy of Milan 
extended from Piedmont in the west to the line of the Adige 
in the east. Even Genoa, which had freed itself from French 
rule in 141 1, was forced after a prolonged struggle to 
acknowledge the suzerainty of Filippo Maria. 

Thus Venice, at the very moment of her successful expan- 
sion eastwards, found herself confronted on her western 
border by a prince who could advance weighty p art iesin 
claims to the most valuable of her recently Venice, 
acquired dominions. The republic was thus called upon to 
solve one of the most serious problems of her whole history. 
Hitherto power on the mainland had come to her in the 
course of events; it had been the product of her obvious 
interest in protecting her trade routes and the sources of her 
supply of food. There had not as yet been any deliberate 
going out of her way to seek for territories. But her most 

248 European History \ 1273- 1494 

pressing interests were now secured, and the question at once 
arose whether she could or would stop at the point which she 
had reached in 142 1. Upon this question were formed the 
two great parties which divided Venice during the remainder 
of the century. The Doge, Tommaso Mocenigo, who held 
office from 1414 to 1423, urged the maintenance of the 
status quo as the only means of retaining that maritime 
supremacy which was essential for the defence of the over- 
whelming interests of Venice in the east. To enter into 
Italian politics as the avowed rival of Milan for ascendency in 
Lombardy would inevitably result in handing over the Levant 
to the Turks. And if Venice lost her commerce, she would 
find territorial dominion, which she could only gain and keep 
by employing hired foreigners in place of her own citizens, a 
very unsatisfactory source either of wealth or of political great- 
ness. On the other hand, many of the younger nobles, 
headed by Francesco Foscari, laid stress upon the undoubted 
interests of Venice on the mainland, and upon the certainty 
that the duke of Milan would never abandon his claims to 
Verona and Padua. They contended with vehemence that 
the western frontier as it stood was hopelessly insecure, that 
a state must either advance or lose ground, and that aggression 
is often the only means of defence. But the policy of this 
party was really inspired less by these arguments, sound as 
they were in some respects, than by the instinctive greed for 
territory which had become the guiding motive of the great 
Italian states. 

The difference between the two parties was brought to a 
head in 1423 by the appearance of successive embassies 
Appeals from from Florence to demand aid against the duke 
Florence. f Milan. Filippo Maria had resumed his father's 
schemes of aggression in Tuscany and the Romagna. Florence 
was forced into war to defend her independence, and her 
troops suffered one defeat after another. Nothing but the 
intervention of the great northern republic seemed likely to 
arrest the duke's progress, and the appeals to Venice became 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 249 

more and more pressing. The first embassy in 1423 had 
been repulsed by the influence of Mocenigo, but he had died 
later in the year, and his place was filled by the election of 
his opponent, Foscari. Still, parties in Venice were too 
evenly balanced to admit of a decisive intervention in the 
war, and the Florentine envoys proceeded from prayers to 
threats. If Venice would give no aid, Florence would seek 
her own safety by joining with Milan. ' When we refused 
to help Genoa, she made Visconti lord of the city ; if you 
refuse to help us, we will make him king of Italy.' At the 
critical moment the Florentine appeal was reinforced by the 
arrival of Carmagnola, who had incurred the jealous suspicion 
of Filippo Maria, and had been driven in disgrace from his 
service. His announcement that the duke would never be 
satisfied till he had driven the Venetians from Lombardy, 
and the prospect of utilising so distinguished a general 
against his former employer, turned the scale in favour 
of Foscari and his party. At the end of 1425 it was 
decided to join Florence in open war against the duke of 

The struggle opened with notable successes for Venice. 
Brescia was taken in 1426, and in December Filippo Maria 
confirmed its cession by a formal treaty. But war between 
the treaty was only a device to gain time and to Venice and 
collect forces. In 1427 hostilities were renewed, Mllan# 
and three of the most famous condottieri of the day — Francesco 
Sforza, Niccolo Piccinino, and Carlo Malatesta — commanded 
the forces of Milan. But Carmagnola gained a brilliant 
victory at Macalo (October 11), and in 1428 Visconti again 
made peace by handing over Bergamo in addition to Brescia. 
Thus in two campaigns the Venetian frontier had been 
extended from the Adige to the Adda. But Filippo Maria 
could hardly remain satisfied with an arrangement which 
brought his enemies within striking distance of Milan itself. 
In 1 43 1 the war was renewed, and Carmagnola was induced 
by lavish payments and promises to remain in the service of 

250 European History, 1273- 1494 

Venice. The republic had now to face the difficulties and 
dangers of employing mercenary soldiers. From the first 
the practice had been adopted of sending two native nobles 
to the camp as proveditori. Nominally they were responsible 
for the commissariat, but their real function was to keep a 
jealous watch on the conduct of the general. Carmagnola 
had already incurred the suspicion of his employers. Except 
in the battle of Macalo he had taken little personal part in 
the war, and had shown himself more solicitous of his own 
interests than of those of Venice. He had released his 
prisoners without ransom, in accordance with the etiquette 
of his profession, and had openly conducted an independent 
intercourse with the duke of Milan. It seemed that he had 
no wish to go too far in crushing a prince whom he had 
formerly served and might serve again. Still, as long as 
their arms were successful, the Venetian oligarchy had kept 
their fears and suspicion to themselves. But in 143 1 came 
a series of reverses. Francesco Sforza won a victory at 
Soncino, and the Venetian fleet on the Po was destroyed 
through the failure of Carmagnola to come to its support. 
Failure was taken as a proof of treachery, and the Council 
of Ten determined to inflict an exemplary punishment. 

They acted with characteristic duplicity and decision. 
Carmagnola was invited to Venice to discuss the next cam 
Execution P a *g n > an( * his distrust was removed by a triumphal 
ofCarma- reception. But he was hurried from the palace 
gnoia. tQ p r i sori) an( j a secre t trial resulted in his con- 

demnation and death (May 5, 1432). In the picturesque 
history of the condottieri of the fifteenth century the execution 
of Carmagnola is one of the most famous episodes. He had 
done nothing that was not in accordance with the traditions 
of his craft, but one state at any rate ventured to give striking 
proof that she would not allow independence to her hired 
defenders. It was a dangerous dilemma from which Venice 
sought to extricate herself. A too eminent and successful 
general might endanger her freedom, but it was difficult in 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 2$ I 

the future to induce the ablest men to serve a state which 
was ready to exact such rigorous penalties. 

The war continued for nine years after Carmagnola's 
death. Florence was allied with Venice, and thus the 
attention of Filippo Maria was engaged in Tuscany as well as 
in Lombardy. This diversion was the salvation of Venice, 
which was more than once on the verge of losing not only 
Brescia, but also Verona. Fortunately for her, too, her rule 
was more lenient than that of Milan, and her subjects were 
resolutely in favour of their new against their former master. 
The struggle was complicated by the action of Francesco 
Sforza, who throughout played his own game and joined one 
side or the other as his private interest dictated. His desire 
was to force Filippo Maria to give him the hand of his 
natural daughter, Bianca, and to make this marriage the 
foundation of a principality in Lombardy. He was at last 
successful in attaining his end. The long siege of Brescia 
was raised by his intervention on behalf of Venice, and a 
peace in 1441 secured to Venice the possession of Brescia 
and Bergamo. In the same year Venice expelled the ruling 
house of Polenta from Ravenna, and took possession of that 
city, a step which brought the republic southwards towards 
the states of the Church and prepared the way for a prolonged 
struggle with the papacy. 

Filippo Maria had been compelled to give his daughter 
with the lordship of Cremona and Pontremoli to Francesco 
Sforza, but he dreaded and disliked his son-in- Death of 
law and schemed to effect his ruin. Sforza, Filippo 
however, showed himself as adroit an intriguer as Mana - 
the duke. He defeated Niccolo Piccinino and his two sons, 
and induced Venice and Florence to renew their war with 
Milan. At the head of the army of the republics he reduced 
his father-in-law to such straits that he must concede all 
demands. Just as he was prepared to desert his employers 
in order to earn the succession to Milan as his reward, the 
news arrived of Filippo Maria's death (August 13, 1447). 

252 European History, 1273- 1494 

With Filippo Maria the male line of the Visconti came 
to an end. There were three possible claimants through 
Succession females — Sforza through his wife, the duke of 
in Milan. Orleans through his mother Valentina Visconti, 
and Frederick of Styria through his grandmother Virida 
Visconti. But none of these claims had any legal validity, 
as the investiture by Wenzel had only recognised male suc- 
cession. The citizens of Milan, not unnaturally, deemed 
that despotism was at an end and restored a republican 
government. These events excited the keenest interest in 
Venice. For more than twenty years the Venetians had 
been engaged in almost continuous war with Milan, but since 
1428 they had not gained a square yard of territory in 
Lombardy. Foscari and his followers urged that advantage 
should be taken of the confusion following Visconti's death 
to establish Venetian ascendency, and they carried the day. 
It was a fatal decision from the point of view of the policy 
which they advocated. If the republic of Milan had been 
allowed to establish itself, the result within a few years would 
have been the alienation and revolt of the subject cities, and 
in the troubled waters Venice could have fished with great 
advantage to herself. But the hasty attack on the part of the 
Venetians forced the newly formed republic to throw itself 
into the arms of the person who was most dangerous both to 
Milanese independence and to Venetian ambition. Francesco 
Sforza undertook to defend Milan against Venice, and he 
showed equal promptness and ability. He destroyed the 
Venetian fleet on the Po at Casalmaggiore and defeated their 
army with great loss at Caravaggio. The Venetians, having 
made one false step, tried to redeem it by doing still worse. 
Francesco They made a treaty with Sforza, by which he 
sforza, duke of pledged himself to hand over to them Crema and 
Milan, 1450. the Ghiara d'Adda on condition that they would 
not oppose his designs. The wily general now turned his 
victorious troops against his employers, who were wholly 
unprepared to cope with such unexpected treachery. One 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 253 

city after another had to open its gates, and in 1450 
Milan surrendered and acknowledged its conqueror as duke. 
Now the Venetians could realise the folly of their conduct. 
They had found it hard enough to cope with Milan under 
the rule of the cowardly Visconti, but they could have no 
chance of extending their rule in Lombardy if the duchy 
were allowed to pass to the first soldier of the age. They 
determined by a strenuous effort to overthrow Sforza before 
he had securely established his authority. But they were 
unsuccessful in the war which ensued, and the tragic news 
of the fall of Constantinople compelled them to turn their 
attention from Italy to their imperilled interests in the east. 
A peace was patched up with Milan at Lodi in 1454. Venice 
resigned her recent acquisitions, and her western frontier was 
restored to the same limits as in 1428. 

For half a century the history of Venice had been closely 
bound up with that of Milan through their mutual rivalry for 
territorial expansion in Lombardy. With the Deposition 
peace of Lodi this intimate connection ceased for and death of 
forty years. As long as the Sforza dynasty was osca * 
secure in Milan, Venice could not hope to do more than 
retain Brescia and Bergamo. And for a time her interests in 
Lombardy were thrust entirely into the background by the 
necessity of facing the absorbing problem of Turkish advance 
in the east. The policy of Foscari, so gloriously attractive in 
the days of Carmagnola's early successes, had ended in dis- 
astrous failure. Men forgot the annexation of Bergamo and 
Brescia, and remembered only that Crema had been lost, and 
that while they were fighting for it Constantinople had fallen. 
For some time the party hostile to the doge had found a way 
of attacking him through the person of his son. Jacopo 
Foscari had been condemned in 1445 f° r taking bribes and 
sentenced to exile. Two years later the prayers of his father 
obtained leave for his return. But in 1450 one U the judges 
who had imposed the original sentence was murdered. 
Jacopo Foscari was denounced to the Ten; and although 

254 European History, 1 27 3- 1494 

there was no real evidence against him, and torture failed 
to extract a confession, he was again exiled. Conscious of 
his innocence, he made strenuous efforts to escape, and 
was imprudent enough to correspond with the Turks and 
with Francesco Sforza. On a charge of treason the exile was 
brought to Venice, again subjected to terrible torture, and 
sent back to Candia, where he died in 1457. These events 
shook the reason of the aged doge, and his neglect of his 
official duties induced the Ten to demand his abdication. 
Even the Venetians, trained by the constant fear of denun- 
ciation to suppress their feelings, could not help murmuring 
as the old man descended the steps of the palace. A few 
days later Foscari died, listening, it is said, to the bells which 
announced the election of his successor. He had served the 
state loyally, if mistakenly, for thirty-four years, he had raised 
Venice to a lofty position among the powers of Italy, and he 
met with the ingratitude which the instinct of self-preserva- 
tion impelled the Venetian oligarchy to sh >w towards every 
individual who exercised a commanding influence on the 
destinies of the republic. 

While these events were going on at home, Venice was 
keenly interested in Eastern affairs. Now that Constantinople 
Venice and na d fallen, it was no longer possible to pursue the 
the Turks. \d policy of bolstering up the Eastern Empire as 
a buffer between the Turks and Venetian possessions. Two 
alternative courses were open to the republic. She might 
take the place of Constantinople and become the bulwark of 
Christendom against the infidel. Or she might endeavour 
to secure the continuance of Venetian commerce in the east 
by making an advantageous treaty with the conquerors. The 
heroic policy was advocated by Foscari, the more cautious 
and selfish policy by his opponents, and the declining credit 
of the doge enabled them to carry the day. In April 1454 a 
treaty was concluded with Mohammed U. On payment of 
a yearly tribute, the Venetians were allowed to retain their 
ports and other possessions in the east, and to continue their 

Milan and Venice tn the Fifteenth Century 255 

Levant trade in temporary security. A district in Constan- 
tinople was assigned for the residence of Venetian merchants 
under a Venetian bailiff. It was no small argument in favour 
of this treaty that it enabled Venice to strike another blow at 
her old rival Genoa. The Genoese had for some time aided 
the Turks in various ways, and had received the promise of 
special trade privileges as their reward. But the Sultan 
found it cheaper to buy off the hostility of a possible foe 
than to pay the stipulated price for services already 

For a few years Venice profited by the treaty of 1454, and 
abstained from giving aid to the struggling Christian popula- 
tions, either of the Balkan provinces or of Greece. But the 
Turkish conquests were too extensive and rapid not to 
awaken serious misgivings. In spite of the famous relief 
of Belgrad by Hunyadi, Servia was reduced, and Wallachia 
and Bosnia were overrun without serious resistance. Only 
Albania, under the heroic Scanderbeg, succeeded by desperate 
efforts in prolonging its independence, and in extorting terms 
from the Sultan. It was more alarming to the Venetians 
when the Turkish armies crossed the isthmus into the Morea, 
and equipped a fleet for the conquest of Lesbos and the 
other islands in the ^Egean. The most strenuous opponents 
of war had to admit the uselessness of a paper treaty to 
restrain a conqueror so unscrupulous as Mohammed 11. At 
this juncture, Pope Pius 11. was making strenuous efforts to 
rouse the princes of Western Europe to a crusade against the 
Turks. Venice was convinced that the further maintenance 
of peace was impossible ; and if the pope could secure them 
allies in the name of religion, their prospects of success would 
be improved. But these hopes of assistance were doomed to 
disappointment, when, in 1464, Pius proceeded to Ancona 
to welcome and bless the crusading host. The Venetian 
fleet was the only efficient force which Christendom had 
furnished in response to the demand of its ecclesiastical 

256 European History \ 1 273-1 494 

The war which Venice waged for sixteen years against 
overwhelming odds is by no means the least heroic episode 
Turkish war, in the history of the republic. Occasionally, as 
1463.79. when Niccolo Canale failed to save Negropont 

in 1470, the Venetian commanders hesitated to act with 
decision in the service of a state which allowed little freedom 
to its subordinates, and was apt to punish failure as if it were 
treason. But, on the whole, the war was waged with equal 
courage and conduct. It could, however, have but one 
result. Mohammed II. employed all the resources of Turkish 
diplomacy to prevent any coalition of Italian powers, and 
Venice was not so popular that other states were likely to 
deplore or to share her misfortunes. It is true that Scanderbeg 
was induced to break his treaty with the Sultan, and to admit 
Venetian garrisons into his fortresses of Kroja and Scutari. 
But Scanderbeg died at the beginning of 1467, leaving the 
guardianship of his son and his dominions to his ally. This 
proved to be a fatal bequest. After the reduction of the 
Morea, a Turkish force entered Albania and laid siege to 
Scutari. The fortress was heroically defended by Antonio 
Loredano, Mohammed was engaged in Asia Minor, and the 
siege had to be raised. But the triumph was only temporary. 
In 1478 Albania was again invaded. Kroja was taken, and 
Scutari, though it repulsed all attempts to storm the walls, 
was closely blockaded. Venice was worn out with her pro- 
longed and exhausting efforts, and in 1479 the peace of 
Constantinople brought the war to a close. Venice gave up 
Scutari, Kroja, Negropont, Lemnos, and her possessions in 
the Morea, but was allowed to retain her Levant trade and 
her quarter in Constantinople on payment of 150,000 ducats 
down and a yearly tribute of 10,000 ducats. Two years later, 
the death of Mohammed II. and the accession of a feebler 
sultan, freed the republic from immediate danger in the 

The disasters of the Turkish war had a demoralising effect 
upon Venice. In her eastern dominions the more ambitious 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 257 

and enterprising of the Venetian nobles had found scope foT 
an ability and an energy that at home would be regarded 
with suspicion. These men had now to turn their attention 
to Italian politics, and they urged the state to seek com- 
pensation for losses in the Levant at the expense of its 
neighbours. From this time the policy of Venice became 
far more openly grasping and selfish than it had ever been 
before, and the enmities thus provoked ultimately led to the 
league of Cambray. Aggression in Lombardy was still blocked 
by the Sforza dynasty, and it was therefore necessary to find 
some weaker power to attack. A quarrel with Warwith 
Ferrara about the manufacture of salt gave the Ferrara, 
desired pretext, and Venice joined with the I482 " 84 - 
turbulent pope Sixtus iv. in an alliance against Ercole 
d'Este. Ferrara was powerless against such a combination, 
and the Venetian forces seized Rovigo and the adjacent 
territory. But an act of such unprovoked aggression excited 
the misgivings of the other states ; and Naples, Milan, and 
Florence formed a league to maintain the balance of power 
against the attempts of Venice and the papacy to disturb it. 
Alfonso of Calabria, who enjoyed an unmerited reputation for 
military skill, advanced to the aid of Ferrara, Sixtus deserted 
an ally who had obviously no regard for papal interests, and 
Venice was compelled to conclude the peace of Bagnolo in 
1484, by which Rovigo was retained, but all other conquests 
were restored. 

About this time Venice had the good fortune to make an 
acquisition in the east, which was some set-off against her 
losses to the Turks. The last king of Cyprus, Venice 
James of Lusignan, had married a Venetian lady, acquires 
Catarina Cornaro. In order to exalt her to Cyprus - 
sufficient rank, the republic of Venice had formally adopted 
her as a daughter of the state. The next year, 1473, tne 
king died, and Venice at once interfered as paternal guardian 
of the widow and her posthumous child. For some years 
Catarina ruled under Venetian protection and control, but in 


258 European History, 1273- 1494 

1488 she was half induced, half compelled to abdicate, and 
the banner of St. Mark was hoisted in Famagusta. Catarina 
Cornaro was allowed to retain the title of queen, and lived in 
considerable magnificence at Asolo till the outbreak of war 
in 1508 drove her to seek a refuge in Venice, where she died 
in 1510. 

But the insatiable greed of the Venetians for territory was 
by no means appeased by the annexation of Cyprus, which 
Venetian could not long be retained except under tribute to 
greed of the Turks. It was to Italy that the ambition 

territory. Q f ^ republic was mainly directed, and the 
Ferrarese war had taught her more than one lesson. If her 
western boundary was to be extended, the Sforzas must be 
driven from Milan ; if territory was to be gained in the south, 
the triple league for the maintenance of the balance of power 
must be broken up ; and, above all, the house of Aragon in 
Naples must be punished for its action in 1483, and rendered 
powerless for the future. How could these ends be achieved ? 
One solution of the problem offered itself in 1493, and that 
was the intervention of a foreign state. A number of 
Neapolitan nobles, driven into exile by the merciless rule 
of Ferrante and Alfonso, came to Venice for advice as to 
how they might best overthrow the Aragonese despots. The 
senate advised them to invite Charles vm. of France to claim 
Naples as representing the house of Anjou. The advice was 
taken, and the invitation was acted upon in 1494. The 
motives of Venice are perfectly obvious. A French invasion 
would weaken the house of Aragon ; it would dislocate the 
league of the great powers; and in the disturbance which 
would follow, Venice, isolated and secure herself, could sell 
her assistance for the price of ports in Apulia, which would 
complete her ascendency in the Adriatic. Nor was this all. 
A French prince — Louis of Orleans — was a claimant to the 
duchy of Milan. If the French once entered Italy, this 
claim was sure to be advanced against the Sforzas, and the 
dynasty, which had so long blocked any advance towards 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 259 

Cremona or Milan, might be overthrown, or at any rate re- 
duced to comparative impotence. The reckoning was equally 
cold-blooded, selfish, and astute. The immediate aims were 
achieved. After the first successes of Charles vin. Venice 
turned against France and received Otranto, Brindisi, and 
other ports in Apulia, as a reward for helping to restore the 
Aragonese line in Naples. The duke of Orleans, on becom- 
ing Louis xii. of France, attacked Ludovico Sfor^a and pur- 
chased the alliance of Venice by ceding Cremona and the 
Ghiara d'Adda. The fall of Caesar Borgia enabled Venice to 
annex a considerable part of the papal states, and there was 
no Italian league to interfere. But Nemesis over- Decline of 
took the republic a few years later, when all the Venice, 
states which had been at any time despoiled, combined to 
attack the common enemy. The ruin of Venice, however, 
was not the work of the league of Cambray, but of causes 
which she could not control. No treaties with the Turks 
could keep the Levant trade as open as it had been, and the 
people on the Atlantic seaboard set to work to find an inde- 
pendent route to the east. In i486 Bartholomew Diaz 
rounded the Cape, and in 1498 Vasco da Gama continued 
the voyage to India. For three centuries and a half the 
Mediterranean ceased to be the great highway of commerce, 
and became merely a considerable inland sea. The marvellous 
prosperity of Venice ceased with the conditions which had 
given rise to it. 

Until the invasion of Charles vm. brought Venice and 
Milan once more together, there had been little direct con- 
nection between the two states since the treaty of Lodi gave 
leisure to Francesco Sforza to secure his position Francesco 
in his newly acquired duchy. In this task he Sforzain 
was as successful as he had been in the un- Mxlan - 
scrupulous methods by which he rose to power. From the 
first he determined to sink the condottiere in the prince. 
Peace, and not war, became the primary object of his policy. 
With Cosimo de' Medici he was already on the most friendly 

260 European History ', 1273- 1494 

terms, and as long as he or his descendants retained theii 
power no opposition was to be feared from Florence. Venice 
had received a sharp lesson, and her attention was diverted 
to the east. The popes had enough to do to maintain their 
recently recovered authority in the papal states. The only 
other important state in Italy was Naples. As a military 
leader Sforza had played a prominent part in Neapolitan 
politics. He had been the champion of the house of Anjou, 
and when the victory ultimately rested with Alfonso of Aragon, 
Sforza had been deprived of his estates in Apulia and the 
Abruzzi. But as duke of Milan, Francesco was eager to be 
on good terms with the king of Naples. All his interests 
were now opposed to the Angevin claim on Naples, which 
might easily be allied with the Orleanist claim to Milan. 
A double marriage was arranged to cement the alliance 
between Naples and Milan. Alfonso's grandson, another 
Alfonso, was betrothed to Ippolita, Sforza's daughter, and 
one of Sforza's sons was to marry Alfonso's granddaughter. 
When Alfonso's death, in 1458, was followed by a renewed 
attempt of the Angevins to gain Naples, Sforza gave his cordial 
support to Ferrante, the natural son of the late king, and 
materially aided him in defending his throne. 

It was extremely fortunate for Francesco Sforza that his 
alliance with the house of Aragon did not lead to a serious 
Relations breach with France, which had recovered the 
with France, suzerainty of Genoa in 1458. It was from Genoa 
that John of Calabria sailed to Naples in 1460 to maintain 
the cause of his father Ren£, and one of the most notable 
acts of Sforza in thwarting the Angevin pretensions was his 
encouragement of a successful revolt of the Genoese in 1461. 
At this critical moment Charles vn. of France -died, and his 
successor, Louis xi., not only had no love for the Anjou 
princes, but was an avowed admirer and imitator of Francesco 
Sforza. The result was a treaty in 1464, by which the town 
of Savona and all French claims to Genoa were ceded to the 
duke of Milan, and later in the year Sforza succeeded in sub- 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 261 

jecting the Ligurian republic to his rule. When Louis xi. 
was hard pressed in 1465 by the League of the Public Weal, 
Sforza not only sent his eldest son with a considerable force 
to attack the duke of Bourbon, he also repaid his obligations 
by the celebrated advice to Louis that he should divide his 
enemies by conceding their demands and then reduce them 
separately. French history tells how triumphantly the king 
followed the counsel of his chosen model. 

The government of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, who succeeded 
in Milan without opposition on his father's death in March 
1466, was comparatively uneventful. The ex- Galeaz2t) 
ternal relations were maintained by Simonetta, Maria sforza, 
who had been secretary to Francesco, and re- I466 " 76 - 
mained in office under the son, on the same lines as under 
the previous duke. The connection with France was drawn 
closer by Galeazzo's marriage with Bona of Savoy, the sister- 
in-law of Louis xi. It is true that for a moment the growing 
power of Charles the Bold attracted Milan to an alliance with 
Burgundy in 1475. But on tne news °* tne duke's first 
reverse at the battle of Granson, Galeazzo hastened to return 
to the French alliance. The wanton cruelty of Galeazzo's 
rule in Milan illustrates the demoralising effect of unbridled 
power upon a weak and passionate nature. To the love of 
bloodshed, which had characterised so many of the Visconti, 
he added a lustful debauchery which outraged the honour of 
the noblest families of Milan. Against a lawless despotism 
the only remedy is rebellion, and the revival of classical 
learning tended to glorify tyrannicide by parading the ex- 
amples of Brutus and of Harmodius and Aristogiton. Three 
young nobles — Girolamo Olgiati, whose sister Galeazzo had 
dishonoured. Carlo Visconti, and Andrea Lampugnani — de- 
termined to win eternal fame by the murder of the tyrant. 
Sacrilege had little terrors for Italians, and Galeazzo Maria 
fell beneath their daggers in the Church of St. Stephen 
(December 26, 1476). But the mass of the citizens were 
too accustomed to subjection to espouse the cause of the 

262 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

rebels. Two of the assassins were slain on the spot, and 
Olgiati was executed after suffering horrible tortures, which 
he endured with the stoicism of an ancient Roman. 

Galeazzo Maria Sforza left an only son, Gian Galeazzo, who 
was only eight years old. He was immediately acknowledged 
Re enc of as duke °f Milan, under the regency of his mother, 
Bona of Bona of Savoy, but the real government rested 

Savoy. j n ^ h an( j s f Simonetta. The latter succeeded 

in overcoming the first difficulties that the regency en- 
countered. A rising in Genoa was suppressed, and the 
brothers of the late duke, who wished to oust their sister- 
in-law, were driven into exile. But in 1479 wholly unexpected 
problems arose. Francesco Sforza had leant on the alliance 
of Florence and Naples, and as long as those two states were 
on friendly terms Simonetta pursued the same policy. The 
conspiracy of the Pazzi, however, involved Florence not only 
in a quarrel with Pope Sixtus iv., but also in a war with 
Naples. Bona of Savoy, under Simonetta's guidance, clung 
to the Florentine alliance, and prepared to send forces to 
aid Lorenzo de' Medici. Ferrante of Naples determined to 
prevent the intervention of Milan. He stirred up a new 
rebellion in Genoa, which succeeded in expelling the Milanese 
garrison from the citadel. At the same time, he urged the 
uncles of the young duke to resume their attack on the 
regency of Bona. Aided by divisions in the government, 
the brothers contrived to secure their return to Milan and to 
overthrow Simonetta, who was put to death at Pavia (1480). 
Ludovico il Moro, the eldest surviving son of Francesco 
Sforza, now succeeded without serious difficulty in prosecut- 
ing his schemes. The young duke was declared of age in 
order to terminate his mother's regency, and Ludovico carried 
on the government in his nephew's name. 

The circumstances under which Ludovico had obtained 
Ludovico ii his power seemed to bind him closely to Ferrante 
Moro. f Naples, who was now reconciled with Lorenzo 

de' Medici, so that the triple alliance was restored, and was 

Milan and Venice in the Fifteenth Century 263 

able to interfere decisively in the war of Ferrara (see above, 
p. 257). The young Gian Galeazzo was married to Isabella, 
the daughter of Alfonso of Calabria, and granddaughter of 
Ferrante. All would have been well if Ludovico's ambition 
had been satisfied with actual rule. But he was resolved to 
supplant his nephew in the duchy, and if necessary to get rid 
Df him by foul means. Such a scheme was certain to meet 
with the determined opposition of the rulers of Naples ; and 
Ludovico, without venturing upon an open rupture, sought 
for means to protect himself from their hostility. The first 
sign of growing mistrust was visible in the war of Ferrara, 
when the half-hearted action of Ludovico allowed Venice to 
escape with comparatively favourable terms in the treaty of 
Bagnolo. Matters became worse when Isabella of Naples 
openly complained to her father and grandfather of the way 
in which her husband was treated by his uncle. Even more 
bitter was her ill-feeling when Ludovico married Beatrice 
d'Este, and a personal jealousy grew up between the nominal 
and the real duchess. Isabella was furious that she should 
be compelled to live in poverty and semi-captivity while her 
rival was the centre of a magnificent court. 

The rulers of Naples naturally espoused the cause of 
Isabella and her husband, and Ludovico was conscious that 
an open quarrel could not be long delayed. It was Ludovi 
necessary for him to strengthen his position by calls in the 
alliances, either within Italy or without. Venice French - 
was not a power that could be trusted to act unselfishly in 
support of Milan. Florence was the oldest ally of the house 
of Sforza, but Lorenzo de' Medici died in 1492, and his son 
Piero showed a perilous inclination to prefer the Neapolitan 
cause to that of Ludovico. In his despair Ludovico made 
up his mind to turn to France. He had already established 
a connection with France when, after reducing Genoa once 
more to submission to Milan, he agreed in 1490 to hold the 
city under the suzerainty of the French king. In 1493 he 
discovered that the Neapolitan exiles, acting on the advice of 

264 European History, 1 273- 1494 

Venice, were urging Charles vm. to attack Naples. Ludovico 
sent an embassy to support this appeal and to promise his 
co-operation. He had no expectation or desire that the 
French should conquer Naples, but he wished to have a 
French army between Milan and the southern kingdom while 
he established himself as duke in the place of his nephew. 
When once France had served his purpose, he was confident 
of his ability to rid himself and Italy of an ally who was 
no longer needed. But cunning as Ludovico was, he over- 
reached himself. It is true that Gian Galeazzo died at the 
required moment, that Ludovico became duke with an im- 
perial investiture, which no previous Sforza had received, and 
that the French invasion prevented any opposition on the 
part of Naples. But among the Frenchmen who entered 
Italy was Louis of Orleans, who seized the opportunity to 
assert his claim to the duchy of Milan as the descendant 
of Valentina Visconti. Ludovico succeeded for the time in 
defeating the duke, who was not well beloved by Charles vm. 
But a few years later Louis himself became king of France, 
and one of his first enterprises was the expulsion of the 
Sforzas from Milan. Ludovico had ample time to repent 
of his short-sighted policy in calling in French aid while 
he lay a prisoner in the castle of Loches, where he died id 



The Papal States during the Schism and Ladislas of Naples— Martin v. 
returns to Rome — Succession question in Naples — Troubles of Euge- 
nius iv. — War in Naples between R£ne" of Anjou and Alfonso of Aragor. 
— Victory of Alfonso v. — Last years of Eugenius iv. — Nicolas v.— Calix 
tus in.— Death of Alfonso v. of Naples— Pius II.— Congress of Mantua- 
War in Naples between Ferrante and John of Calabria— Death of Pius II. 
at Ancona — Paul II. — Sixtus iv. and his nephews — War with Florence — 
Relations with Ferrara and Venice — Disorders in Rome — Innocent vm. 
— Rising against Ferrante in Naples — Election of Alexander vi. — His 
alliance with Naples. 

Boniface ix. was the ablest and most successful of the 
Roman popes during the Schism. The impotence into which 
the temporal authority of the papacy had fallen 
may be judged by the fact that Boniface found it states and 
advisable or necessary to sell the vicariate, i.e. the Ladis,as of 

• i • i i r, Naples. 

right to exercise authority in the Pope s name, 
to the despots who had usurped lordship in the various 
cities. Yet this very sale, though it seemed to legalise acts 
of violence and rebellion, brought with it some advantages 
besides filling the Pope's coffers. The purchase of rights was 
in itself an acknowledgment that the Pope possessed them, 
and this could be employed some day against the purchasers. 
And in several ways Boniface directly increased his power. 
He induced the citizens of Rome, always as greedy of papal 
wealth as they were jealous of papal rule, to invite him to 
take up his residence in his capital on terms which ruined the 
foundations of republican liberties. He aided Ladislas of 


2O6 European History, 1273- 1494 

Naples to gain his final victory over Louis 11. of Anjou in 
1399 (vide p. 155), and Ladislas repaid his obligation by 
helping the Pope to suppress formidable risings of the Roman 
barons. On the death of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, he suc- 
ceeded in recovering for the papacy the towns ot Bologna, 
Perugia, and Assisi, which had fallen under the sway of the 
duke of Milan. 

But Boniface bequeathed to his successors one very serious 
difficulty. Ladislas, who owed his crown to papal support, con- 
ceived the plan of extending his kingdom at the expense of the 
papacy, and even of reducing the papal states under his personal 
rule. His first attempt to stir up rebellion in Rome, in order 
that he might intervene for his own profit in the struggle, resulted 
in the expulsion of Innocent vn. and the sack of the Vatican, 
but the citizens hastened to come to terms with the Pope when 
they discovered that the only alternative to his rule was sub- 
jection to Naples (1405). Another opportunity offered itself 
in 1407, when Gregory XII. left Rome in order to simulate 
willingness to confer with Benedict xin. for the closing of the 
schism. Ladislas had no wish that the schism should end, 
not only because its continuance facilitated his schemes of 
aggression, but also because it strengthened his position in 
Naples. The movement for union had its chief strength in 
France, and any successful intervention of France in Italy 
would lead to a new attempt to gain Naples for the younger 
house ot Anjou. In 1408 Ladislas seized Rome, and prac- 
tically made himself master of the papal states. But to some 
extent his plan miscarried. Gregory xn., it is true, pleaded 
events in Rome as a reason for avoiding a conference, but 
his cardinals deserted him and joined with those of Benedict 
to hold a counoil at Pisa (vide p. 199). The attempt 01 
Ladislas to disperse the Council by invading Tuscany was 
foiled by the resistance of Florence, and the Assembly pro- 
ceeded to depose the two existing popes and to elect Alex- 
ander v. Baldassare Cossa, the papal legate in Bologna, 
who combined the training and habits of a condottiert with 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 267 

the office of cardinal, undertook to recover Rome and to 
punish the prince who still adhered to the cause of Gregory xii. 
Rome was captured at the beginning of 14 10, but Alexander v. 
died in May, and the all-powerful Cossa was elected to 
succeed him as John xxm. 

The new pope entered Rome in triumph in 141 1, and his 
first act was to despatch a powerful army under Braccio, Sforza, 
and other famous generals, to support the cause of Louis of 
Anjou in Naples. A great victory was won at Rocca-Secca 
(May 19, 141 1), but the delay of the conquerors enabled 
Ladislas to rally his forces, and before long to gain the upper 
hand. Louis II. abandoned the enterprise in despair. Atten- 
dolo Sforza deserted to the side of the Neapolitan king, and 
John xxm. made peace with his enemy in 141 2, the one 
abandoning the cause of Gregory xn., the other promising to 
disown the duke of Anjou. But Ladislas had no intention 
of observing the peace. As soon as his preparations were 
completed, he again marched upon Rome in 141 3, and drove 
John xxm. in hasty and undignified flight to Florence. This 
crushing disaster forced the Pope into those appeals for aid 
to Sigismund, which ultimately led to the summons of the 
Council of Constance and to his own ignominious deposition. 
But in August 141 4, before the Council had begun its session 
Ladislas died, leaving his crown to his sister, Joanna n. f 
and the scheme of subjecting the papal states to Naples 
perished with him. The citizens of Rome expelled Sforza and 
his troops from the city, and welcomed the return of a papal 

When unity was at last restored to the Church by the elec- 
tion of Martin v., the new Pope had a very cheerless prospect 
before him. His obvious task was to restore to Martin v., 
the papacy some measure of the authority and «4*7*««*« 
influence which had been forfeited by its experiences during 
the last hundred years. To do this he must find a residence 
in which he would be more secure than his recent predeces- 
sors from the dictation of secular rulers. Sigismund urged 

268 European History, 1 273- 1494 

him to reside in some German city, and the French would 
have welcomed him to Avignon. But Martin, himself a 
Roman by birth, refused to find a home except in the ancient 
capital of the world. Rightly or wrongly, he decided that 
temporal dominion in a state of his own was necessary to 
secure the independence of the Pope, and that to attain this 
he must recover and consolidate the papal provinces in Italy. 
The whole history of the papacy during the fifteenth century 
was moulded by this decision. The popes became more and 
more absorbed in the extension of their temporal power, even 
when their spiritual authority was weakened by it. Nepotism 
and other evils were the result of this devotion to secular 
interests, and a revolt of outraged and alienated opinion 
became inevitable. 

But Martin had many difficulties to overcome before he 
could carry out his intention of taking up his abode in Rome. 
Martin re- ^he departure of John xxin. to Constance had 
turns to left the papal states in the condition of anarchy 

Rome. which had become chronic. Neapolitan influence 

was still strong, but the policy of Naples was no longer 
directed by the strong will of Ladislas. His sister and suc- 
cessor, Joanna El., was devoid of political capacity, and aban- 
doned herself to sensual indulgence and the guidance of 
favourites. Through her incompetence the chief influence 
over the destinies of Naples was allowed to fall into the hands 
of the two great condottieri, Braccio da Montone and Atten- 
dolo Sforza, who had been brought into rivalry by their con- 
nection with Neapolitan affairs during the previous reign. 
Braccio, who had quarrelled with Ladislas and joined 
John xxin., had been left by that Pope as governor of 
Bologna. After the departure of his employer he seized his 
native city of Perugia and set himself to carve a private prin- 
cipality out of the states of the Church. In 141 7 he actually 
made himself master of Rome, and was besieging the castle 
of St. Angelo, when Sforza was despatched from Naples to 
compel his retirement. These events forced Martin v. on his 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 269 

accession to ally himself with Joanna and Sforza, and a treaty 
was arranged in 1 419 by which Naples was to restore all that 
had been occupied in the papal states. But a quarrel between 
Joanna and Sforza deprived this treaty of all importance, and 
Martin determined to coerce and distract Naples by encour- 
aging internal feuds in that kingdom. As Joanna was child- 
less, the question of the succession to a crown Succe88lon 
which had already been so hotly disputed was question in 
certain to give rise to difficulties. Louis 11. of Na P lM * 
Anjou, the rival of Ladislas, had died in 141 7 ; but his eldest 
son, Louis in., was eager to enforce his father's claim and to 
purchase the support of the papacy. Martin v. and Sforza 
declared their recognition of Louis as heir to the kingdom. 
But Joanna, indignant at this attempt to force a successor 
upon her, turned to a family whose rivalry with her own 
dynasty was older than that of the younger house of Anjou. 
Alfonso of Aragon had become king of Sicily in 1409, and 
was not likely to refuse the prospect of a notable increase of 
his power in the Mediterranean by the acquisition of Naples. 
He eagerly accepted the offer of Joanna to adopt him as her 
heir, and he induced Braccio to enter his service in order to 
oppose Sforza. Thus civil war was kindled in Naples, and its 
outbreak gave the Pope the opportunity for which he had 
been waiting. Leaving Florence, where he had resided since 
his departure from Constance, lie made his way to Rome in 
September 1420. There he set himself to put an Ruieof 
end to disorders and to strengthen the founda- Martin v. 
tions of papal rule. The exhaustion of the combatants in 
Naples, and the successive deaths of Braccio and Sforza in 
1424, freed him from the danger of any intervention from the 
south. Alfonso abandoned the contest for a time, and 
Joanna agreed to recognise the claim of Louis of Anjou to be 
regarded as her successor. Perugia and the other territories 
of Braccio returned on his death to their allegiance to the 
Pope. In Rome itself Martin had one source of strength in 
the support of his own family of Colonna, though their 

270 European History, 1273- 1494 

advancement to places of dignity and importance was certain 
to create difficulties for his successor. Once secure in his 
temporal dominions, the Pope was free to turn his attention 
to the general affairs of the Church. The first council which 
he was bound to summon by the decrees of Constance met 
at Siena, and was adroitly managed so as to avoid any further 
limitation of papal authority. By putting himself at the head 
of the movement to crush the Hussites, and by appointing a 
papal legate to lead the armies against the heretics, Martin 
tried to recover for the papacy the position which it nad 
enjoyed in the time of the great crusades of the Middle 
Ages. But the crusading spirit was dead in Europe, and the 
successive victories of the Bohemians not only frustrated his 
designs, but also compelled him to summon a Council to 
meet at Basel shortly before his own death on February 20, 

I43 1 - 

Eugenius iv., who was unanimously elected to succeed 
Martin v., had a troubled pontificate of sixteen years. He 
at once set himself to deprive the Colon na family 
Burato W °^ tne predominance which they had acquired 
in Rome through the favour of his predecessor ; 
but he could only accomplish this by an alliance with the 
Orsini, and he thus revived the old feuds among the Roman 
barons which it was the interest and the duty of the popes 
to check. Very soon after his accession he engaged in a 
bitter quarrel with the Council of Basel, and he completely 
failed in his endeavour to detach Sigismund from the cause 
of the Council as the price of conferring the imperial crown 
upon that prince. To make matters worse, he allowed his 
sympathies with his native city of Venice to involve him 
in a quarrel with Filippo Maria Visconti of Milan. In 
1433 the climax of his misfortunes seemed to be reached, 
when a combination of Milanese hostility with domestic 
discontent drove him to fly in disguise from Rome, and to 
seek refuge in Florence. These accumulated disasters 
compelled him to adopt a humbler tone towards the 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 271 

Council of Basel, which was conducting negotiations with 
the Bohemians as if its authority completely superseded that 
of the Pope. 

About this time the succession dispute in Naples gave rise 
to a prolonged war. Louis in. of Anjou died in 1434, but 
Joanna made a new will in favour of his younger 
brother Rene of Provence. Soon afterwards the Angevinsand 
queen herself died, on February 2, 1435. Alfonso Aragonese in 
v. at once came forward to assert his own claims 
against those of Rene, and the Neapolitan baronage was 
divided into the factions of Anjou and Aragon. It was im- 
possible for the papacy to remain neutral in a struggle which 
so intimately concerned its own interests. Eugenius began 
by claiming the kingdom as a fief which had lapsed to its 
suzerain on the extinction of the line of papal vassals. But 
he soon dropped this claim and reverted to the normal policy 
of supporting the Angevin candidate. At first, events seemed 
to turn decisively in favour of Rene\ A Genoese fleet, fight- 
ing on his side, won a great naval victory off the island of 
Ponza, in which Alfonso himself was taken prisoner. But 
in a personal interview with Filippo Maria Visconti, who 
claimed the captive by virtue of his suzerainty over Genoa, 
Alfonso convinced him that it would be impolitic either to 
strengthen the papacy which was allied with Venice, or to 
establish French influence in Southern Italy. By these 
arguments he not only secured his own release, but also 
laid the foundations of a durable alliance between his own 
dynasty and the dukes of Milan. From this time the fortunes 
of war turned steadily in favour of the Aragonese party, 
though it was not till 1442 that Rene finally abandoned the 
contest, and Alfonso v. was formally recognised as king of 
Naples. His accession reunited for a time the crowns of 
Naples and Sicily, which had been separated since the Sicilian 
Vespers in 1282 (see p. 25). 

So far Eugenius had met with little but failure and dis- 
appointment. He gained an apparent victory over the 

272 European History, 1273- 1494 

Council of Basel when he induced the Greeks to conduct 

the negotiations for a union of eastern and western churches 

at a rival council which met first at Ferrara, 

Later years of and ^^ {q Florence> But the treaty which was 

settled at the Council was repudiated by public 
opinion in Greece, and the Pope gained little real advantage 
from the parade of negotiations which proved abortive. Yet 
the later years of his pontificate were more successful than 
seemed likely from the beginning. Rome did not long 
enjoy the republican liberty which the citizens claimed to 
have recovered on the Pope's departure. The warlike Car- 
dinal Vitelleschi succeeded by 1435 m reducing the capital 
to submission. So successful were the rigorous and cruel 
measures of the legate that Eugenius suspected him of a 
design to establish his own power in the papal states. In 
1440 Vitelleschi was imprisoned and died, either from poison 
or from the wounds he received in the struggle with his 
captors. Scarampo, who took his place, maintained his 
authority by the same means as his predecessor had em- 
ployed. In 1443 Eugenius was able to quit Florence and 
to return to Rome in perfect security. He gained the alliance 
of Naples by recognising the title of Alfonso v. But his 
greatest triumph was the inauguration of the negotiations 
with Germany, through the medium of JEneas Sylvius 
Piccolomini, which led to the failure and humiliation of 
the Council of Basel. The final treaty was practically 
concluded, though still unsigned, when Eugenius died, on 
February 23, 1447- 

Thomas of Sarzana, who succeeded to the papacy as 
Nicolas v., had already won a considerable reputation as a 

student of ancient literature. Though he was 
M47°455 V " rat ^ er a dilig ent collector of manuscripts and 

works of art than an original scholar, his patron- 
age made Rome for a time the centre of humanist culture. 
His greatest work was the foundation of the Vatican library. 
As a politician Nicolas showed less ability and interest than as 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 273 

a student, but he was a sincere lover of peace, and he was 
able to maintain the position which Eugenius had won in 
his later years. He concluded the concordat with Germany, 
which put an end to the revolt originating with the Council 
of Basel, and the Council itself came to an ignominious end 
in 1449. I" '45° Nicolas celebrated the restoration of 
unity, and conciliated the Roman people, by a grand jubilee 
which brought the wealth of Europe to the eternal city. 
in spite of this general rejoicing, the next year witnessed a 
famous conspiracy against the secular authority of the Pope. 
Stefano Porcaro was a Roman noble who had won the favour 
of Nicolas by his devotion to ancient literature. But these 
studies led Porcaro, as they had previously led Rienzi, to 
an enthusiastic admiration of republican liberty. When he 
endeavoured to inspire the people with his opinions he 
was banished by tne Pope to Bologna. Thence he returned 
secretly to Rome and organised a plot to imprison the Pope 
and cardinals, and to restore the republic, with Porcaro as 
tribune. More than four hundred persons were engaged 
in the scheme, and the number proved fatal to secrecy. 
Porcaro and nine of his followers were imprisoned in the 
castle of St. Angelo and executed without trial. After an 
interval of a few days harsh measures were resumed, and a 
number of suspected persons shared the same fate. This 
severity extinguished the last active desire to restore Roman 
liberty. Papal rule was strengthened by the failure of the 
plot; but Porcaro's name, like that of Rienzi, lived long in 
the affections of the people. No sooner was this crisis 
passed than the news came that Constantinople had been 
taken by Mohammed II. in 1453. The empire had long 
ceased to possess any general authority in Europe, but the 
papacy still claimed to represent that unity of Christendom, 
whose disappearance had rendered such a catastrophe possible. 
It was upon the papacy, therefore, that the chief discredit 
fell of so notable a triumph for the infidel. But Nicolas v. 
had no ability to cope with such a vast problem as was 

274 European History, 1273- 1494 

involved in the union of the jarring interests of European 
states for the purpose of joint resistance to the Turks. 
Unable to devise any practical scheme, he gave himself up 
to despair, lamented that fate had raised him from a private 
station, and died in 1455. 

After the death of Nicolas v. the choice of the cardinals 
fell upon Alfonso Borgia, who took the name of Calixtus III. 

He was a native of the Aragonese province of 
f SmS? IH ' Valenc i a > an d nac * been rewarded with the car- 

dinalate for services rendered to the papacy in 
negotiations with Alfonso v. Although over seventy years 
of age, Calixtus showed creditable energy in urging the 
princes of Europe to war against the Turks, and he had 
the consolation of hearing of the signal victory of John 
Hunyadi, when Mohammed 11. was repulsed from the walls 
of Belgrade in 1456. But the pontificate of Calixtus is 
mainly noteworthy for the elevation of a relative who was 
destined to involve the papacy in the gravest scandals. 
Nepotism was a natural result of the secular aims of the 
fifteenth century popes. As long as the popes had been 
the active heads of Christendom their energies were fully 
employed in carrying out a great task. But they were now 
little more than temporal princes, and their position differed 
from that of other princes in the impossibility of transmitting 
their power to a dynasty, and in the brief period of rule 
which was possible for men elected in advanced years. 
Hence there was a serious temptation to the popes to 
aggrandise their relatives at the expense of the Church or 
of neighbouring princes, and thus to confer those advantages 
upon their family which a secular prince could bring about 
by the normal action of hereditary succession. Calixtus 
had three nephews, the sons of a sister and a man called 
Lenzuoli. These young men were allowed to take the 
maternal name of Borgia, and their interests were vigorously 
forwarded by their uncle. Two were appointed cardinals, 
to the great scandal of the College and of Roman opinion ; 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 275 

and one of these, Rodrigo Borgia, became the notorious 
Pope Alexander vi. The third nephew received the title 
of duke of Spoleto, and the offices of Gonfalonier of the 
Church and prefect of Rome. 

Before the death of Calixtus important events had taken 
place in Naples. Alfonso v., after the prolonged war which 
secured him the throne, had enjoyed a singularly peaceful 
reign. The personal charm which had enabled him to gain 
over Filippo Maria Visconti also served to win the affection 
of his subjects ; and his court was rendered famous noi 
only by its magnificence, but also by the eminence of the 
scholars who were attracted to Naples by royal patronage. 
But Alfonso's death, in June 1458, threatened a revival of 
dynastic struggles in southern Italy. As he had no lawful 
issue, his hereditary kingdoms of Aragon and Sicily passed 
to his brother, John 11. But Alfonso claimed the right to 
dispose of Naples as a private acquisition of his own, and 
bequeathed the kingdom to his illegitimate son, Ferrante. 
The Neapolitans themselves were not at first inclined to 
resent an arrangement which freed them from a connection 
with Aragon and Sicily which might be regarded as subjection. 
But it was obvious that the accession of a bastard would 
encourage the house of Anjou to revive its claim, while 
the legitimate line in Aragon could always assert the same 
right to Naples which had been vindicated by Alfonso 
himself. It was therefore of great importance to Ferrante 
to obtain recognition from the Pope, who claimed to be 
suzerain of Naples, and he had some right to demand it with 
confidence from Calixtus, who was born a subject of Aragon 
But the Pope, whether he remembered the traditional Angevin 
alliance of the papacy, or whether he sought in the spoils of 
Naples for new means of advancing his nephews, refused to 
recognise Ferrante, and claimed to dispose of the kingdom 
as a vacant papal fief. Before, however, he could make any 
efficient opposition to the new king, he was removed by death 
on August 6, 1458. 

276 European History \ 1273- 1494 

The choice of the cardinals now fell upon the most remark- 
able Pope of the century, ^Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who 
Pius 11., adopted the Virgilian epithet of Pius as his papal 
1458-64. name. In his youth ^Eneas Sylvius had lived a 

gay and not too decorous life. The author of the novel of 
Euryalus and Lucrctia, and the confidant of the amours of 
princes, he had first achieved political distinction at the 
Council of Basel. There his literary and oratorical ability 
had given him a position of recognised eminence ; but when 
the cause of the Council began to decline, he had entered the 
service of Frederick in., and had played by far the most pro- 
minent part in effecting a reconciliation between Germany 
and the papacy. For these services he had been rewarded 
by Nicolas v. with the bishopric of Siena, his native city, and 
by Calixtus in. with the cardinal's hat. Raised to the 
papacy, he set himself to destroy the last traces of conciliar 
opposition to Roman supremacy, and with this object in view 
he strained every nerve to put himself at the head of a great 
crusading movement against the Turks. His career is full of 
strange contradictions, and the contrast has often been drawn 
between his unscrupulous youth and early manhood and the 
austere enthusiasm which he displayed as Pope. He himself 
was fully sensible of the incongruity, and in his famous 
recantation he urged his hearers to cast away ^Eneas and 
take Pius in his place : Aineam rejicite, Pium accipite. 

As peace was absolutely necessary for any action against 
the Turks, the first act of Pius was to reverse the policy of 
Congress of ms predecessor, and to recognise Ferrante as de 
Mantua. facto king of Naples, though he was careful to 
avoid any formal decision on the question of legal right. In 
1459 he summoned a congress of Western princes to meet at 
Mantua, in the confident hope that his eloquence would prove 
as effective as that of Peter the Hermit in the eleventh 
century. On the appointed date the Pope and his personal 
followers found themselves alone in Mantua. After a month's 
anxious delay, some ambassadors and a few German and 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 277 

Italian princes appeared, and the Congress was declared open. 
But the Pope soon discovered that his hopes had been fai 
too sanguine ; and after much eloquence had been expended 
in invectives against the Turks, the Congress broke up without 
achieving anything. There is no need to seek far for the 
causes of the failure of the Mantuan Congress. The growth 
of nations, with separate and often conflicting interests of their 
own, had destroyed all the conditions which had rendered 
possible the crusades of the Middle Ages. There were also 
special causes at the time which rendered it difficult for 
Pius 11. to gain any real support for his schemes. The 
French were angry with the Pope for having prejudiced the 
Angevin claims to Naples by his recognition of Ferrante. 
Pius replied to the remonstrances of the French envoys by 
attacking the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges ; and though he 
might claim a dialectical victory, such discussions were not 
conducive to a good understanding with France. Even 
Frederick in., the old patron of ^Eneas Sylvius, was at this 
time dissatisfied with the Pope for refusing to support his 
claims to the Hungarian crown, which had gone to the son 
of John Hunyadi, Mathias Corvinus. In Germany there were 
still traces of that spirit of opposition to the papacy which had 
been both a cause and a result of the conciliar movement ; 
and Pius II. chose this moment to exasperate the German 
princes who shared these opinions by issuing from Mantua 
the bull Exccrabilis, by which he condemned as detestable 
heresy any future appeal from the bishop of Rome to a 
general council. 

Just at this very time there broke out the war in Naples, 
which the Pope had endeavoured to avert. The Neapolitan 
barons revolted against the harsh rule of Ferrante, War in 
and appealed for aid to the house of Anjou. Naples. 
Rene* le Bon was unwilling to quit his luxurious life in 
Provence ; but his son John, titular duke of Calabria, was at 
once more capable and more ambitious. From Genoa, 
which was at this time under French suzerainty, John sailed 

278 European History, 1273- 1494 

to the Neapolitan coast, and was speedily joined by a large 
number of partisans. Hostilities in Naples were fatal to the 
crusading schemes of Pius II. In spite of his desire to avoid 
a quarrel with France, he could not withdraw his support 
from Ferrante, and he was further attached to the Aragonese 
cause by the influence of Francesco Sforza, who feared that 
an Angevin triumph in the south might encourage the duke 
of Orleans to advance a claim to Milan. But in spite of the 
aid of the Pope and of Sforza, the cause of Ferrante did not 
at first prosper. John gained an important victory at Sarno 
on July 7, 1460; and his general, Jacopo Piccinino, also 
succeeded in defeating the Aragonese forces. But in the 
next year there was a very decided turn of fortune. The death 
of Charles VII. gave the French throne to Louis XI., who was 
ill disposed towards his Angevin relatives, while he was a 
warm admirer of Francesco Sforza. Genoa had already 
repudiated the French control, and before long Louis agreed 
to transfer his claims over Genoa to the duke of Milan. 
Thus John of Calabria, who had brought with him few men 
and little money, was deprived of the prospect of aid from 
France. His Neapolitan supporters began to desert him 
after his first reverse in 1462, and in 1464 John was compelled 
to abandon the enterprise as hopeless and return to France. 
His brief but adventurous career is full of incident. He 
sought to punish Louis XI. for his desertion by joining the 
League of the Public Weal. When that war was over, he 
carried on his quarrel with the house of Aragon by joining 
the Catalans in their revolt against John 11. In that quarrel 
he met his death in 1469. Four years later his only son, 
Nicolas, also died, and the male descendants of Rene of 
Provence came to an end. The house of Anjou was now 
represented only by Rene himself ; by his daughters, Yolande 
and Margaret, who had married respectively Frederick of 
Vaudemont and Henry vi. of England ; and by his brother's 
son, Charles of Maine. Of the two daughters, Margaret had 
lost her only son, Edward, at Tewkesbury in 147 1 ; but 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 279 

Yolande had a son, called Rene* after his grandfather, who 
was engaged in defending the duchy of Lorraine against the 
attacks of Charles the Bold of Burgundy. When the old 
Rene died in 1480, he disinherited this grandson, who was 
then his only descendant, in favour of his nephew Charles of 
Maine, with the further provision that on the extinction of 
the latter's line the inheritance should pass to the French 
crown. In the next year Charles of Maine died without 
children, and by virtue of this will Provence and Bar were 
seized by Louis XI. At a later date Charles vin. was induced 
to found upon his succession to the house of Anjou a claim to 
the crown of Naples, which inaugurated a new epoch, not 
only in the relations between France and Italy, but also in 
the international politics of Europe. 

During the war in Naples Pius 11. had despaired of a 
crusade, and with characteristic ingenuity and self-confidence 
he devised a new scheme for securing the victory Death of 
of the cross over the crescent. The eloquence Pius H. 
which had failed to arouse the princes of Europe at Ancona « 
might prove more successful with their heathen opponent. 
He drew up and despatched a lengthy epistle to Mohammed 
11., urging him to become a Christian, and promising on that 
condition to confirm him in possession of the eastern empire, 
as his predecessors had given the empire of the west to 
Charles the Great. As far as we know the Sultan returned 
no answer to this unique proposal. But the pacification of 
Naples by the victory of Ferrante, and the growing uneasiness 
of Venice at the continuance of Turkish aggression in Greece 
and the Archipelago, encouraged the Pope to resume his more 
warlike plans. In 1463 he concluded an alliance with the 
Venetians and Mathias Corvinus of Hungary. He renewed 
his exhortations to a general crusade, and declared his 
intention of leading it in person. In 1464 he went to 
Ancona, which had been fixed for the meeting of the 
crusading forces. Again the aged Pope met with a bitter 
disappointment. The only crusaders at Ancona were a few 

280 European History^ 1273- 1494 

adventurers who had nothing to lose, and hoped to make 
their profit out of the papal treasures. At last, on August 12, 
the Venetian fleet approached the harbour, and Pius was 
carried to the window to witness its entry. This effort was 
his last, and two days later he died, straining his eyes east- 
ward, and with his last breath urging the prosecution of the 
crusade. The poignant contrasts of his career were con- 
spicuous to the last. ^Eneas Sylvius, careless, light-hearted, 
and untroubled by moral scruples, had faithfully represented 
the new epoch in which he lived. Pius 11., enthusiastic, 
gloomy, and passionate, seems to be the ghost risen from the 
Middle Ages, which were dead. 

The pontificate of Paul 11. was short and comparatively 
uneventful. He belonged to the Venetian family of the 
Paul 11., Barbi, and his election seemed likely to cement 

1464-71. t jj at a i}{ ance between the papacy and the mari- 

time republic on which Pius II. had ultimately relied for 
resistance to the Turkish advance. But Paul acquiesced 
without much protest in the failure of his predecessor's plans ; 
and by urging Hungary into war with the heretical George 
Podiebrad of Bohemia, he rendered impossible even a league 
of eastern princes against the infidel. Paul's name is also 
associated with a so-called persecution of the humanists, 
because he imprisoned some members of the Roman academy 
who had talked vaguely and irresponsibly of a restoration of 
the republic. But it is absurd to treat a simple measure 
of internal police as evidence of a definite and far-reaching 
policy, or as marking a reaction from the patronage of letters 
by Nicolas v. The whole episode has attracted more atten- 
tion than it deserves through the interested emphasis of the 
chronicler, Platina, who has exaggerated both his own 
sufferings and his own importance. Paul 11. was a true Pope 
of the Renaissance, looking at affairs from an intellectual 
rather than from a spiritual point of view, and exulting both 
in his own handsome figure, which led him to desire the 
name of Formosus, and in the beauty of the jewels and 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 281 

carvings of which he was an industrious and intelligent 
collector. But he was free from the grosser vices and crimes 
which have given notoriety to his successors. 

The name of Sixtus iv. might well have been handed down 
to posterity as typifying the extreme degradation in which the 
papacy was involved in this century by its absorp- Nepotism of 
tion in temporal interests, but that the bolder Sixtus IV « 
and more picturesque crimes of Caesar Borgia have secured 
that pre-eminence for the pontificate of Alexander vi. The 
aims and actions of Sixtus were those of a secular prince, and 
display that cynical disregard of moral considerations which 
has been portrayed as the characteristic of the age in the 
pages of Machiavelli. No previous Pope had ventured to 
show so reckless a determination to use his office for the 
advancement of his relatives, and to employ his relatives as a 
means of strengthening the temporal power of the papacy. 
Three of his nephews were the sons of his brother, Raffaelle 
della Rovere. The eldest, Lionardo, was made prefect of 
Rome, and was married to a natural daughter of Ferrante 
of Naples. Giuliano della Rovere, the most capable and 
vigorous of the family, was raised by his uncle to be cardinal 
of San Pietro ad Vincula. After playing a prominent part as 
the opponent of the two succeeding popes, he gained the 
tiara himself as Julius 11. The third son, Giovanni, succeeded 
Lionardo as prefect of Rome, and Sixtus obtained for him 
the hand of Joanna, daughter of Federigo da Montefeltro, duke 
of Urbino, a marriage which in the next generation gave the 
duchy to a della Rovere dynasty. But the Pope's most 
lavish favours were conferred upon the two sons of a sister, 
Piero and Girolamo Riario. Piero was made a cardinal at 
the age of twenty-five, and received so many preferments, 
including the archbishopric of Florence, that he drew a 
princely revenue from the Church. He only lived three years 
after his uncle's accession, but during that time he succeeded 
in startling Europe by the stories of the extraordinary pomp 
and debauchery on which he squandered his wealth. The 

282 European History \ 1 273-1494 

promotion of Girolamo Riario, a layman, was effected within 
the papal states, and had more lasting results. The papal 
treasure was employed to purchase for him the lordship of 
Imola; he was married to Caterina, a natural daughter 
of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and on the extinction of the 
Ordelaffi in 1480 his uncle's support gained for him the city 
of Forli with the title of duke. The whole policy of the 
Pope was directed for years to the aggrandisement of a youth 
who proved no more worthy of his elevation than his brother 
had been. In 1488 the people of Forli rose and murdered 
him, and only the heroism of his widow secured for a time 
the continuance of his dynasty. 

The obvious intention of the Pope to extend his temporal 
power and to abuse it for the aggrandisement of his nephew 
War with excited the misgivings of the neighbouring states, 
Florence. an d especially of Florence, which was at this 
time undei the guidance of Lorenzo de' Medici. In order 
to remove this obstacle from their way, Sixtus and Riario 
organised the famous conspiracy of the Pazzi for the over- 
throw of the Medici rule. The Pope asserted his ignorance 
of any scheme of assassination, but he must have known that 
success could hardly be achieved without bloodshed, and his 
denial of complicity was a merely formal attempt to save the 
credit of the holy see. The plot very narrowly missed its 
aim : Giuliano de' Medici was killed in the cathedral of 
Florence, but Lorenzo escaped with a severe wound, and the 
chief conspirators, including the archbishop of Pisa, fell 
victims to the popular fury. Enraged at the failure of his 
scheme, Sixtus excommunicated the Florentines for laying 
violent hands upon a dignitary of the Church, and formed a 
league with Ferrante of Naples for the overthrow of the 
republic. The disorder in Milan following the death of 
Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and the fact that Venice was still 
engaged in the Turkish war, deprived Florence of her natural 
allies, and in 1479 the city was exposed to serious peril. 
Lorenzo de' Medici, however, not only averted the danger, 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 283 

but dexterously employed it to strengthen his authority. At 
considerable personal risk, he undertook a journey to Naples, 
and succeeded in negotiating a peace with Ferrante. Sixtus 
was at first inclined to continue the war ; but the occupation 
of Otranto by a Turkish force in 1480 constituted such a 
serious menace to Italy, that the obstinate Pope was forced 
to come to terms with his opponents and to withdraw the 
bull of excommunication against Florence. 

The Turkish invasion compelled Ferrante of Naples and 
his son Alfonso to withdraw their troops from Tuscany, and 
to concentrate their attention on the recovery of Otranto. 
Fortunately for Italy, the death of Mohammed 11. on May 3, 
1 48 1, and a dispute as to the Turkish succession, led to the 
withdrawal of the invaders, and enabled the Neapolitan 
rulers to claim a military triumph which they had done little 
or nothing to bring about. But the alliance Relations 
between Naples and the papacy had been com- and Ve nice, 
pletely annulled, and Sixtus, as restless as ever, 1482-84. 
did not scruple to form a new coalition, which was destined 
to have momentous results to Italy. Venice had concluded 
the treaty of Constantinople with the Turks in 1479, and was 
eager to obtain upon Italian soil compensation for its losses 
in the east. Hence arose in 1482 an unscrupulous and 
unprecedented alliance between the papacy and Venice for 
the spoliation of Ercole d'Este of Ferrara. The danger to 
the balance of power in Italy led to the formation of a hostile 
coalition between Naples, Florence, and Milan. Sixtus iv. 
soon discovered that he had gained nothing by his change 
of allies. Venice had seized the district of Rovigo from 
Ferrarra, but had obviously no intention of handing over any 
share of the spoils to Girolamo Riario. At the same time, 
Neapolitan troops entered the papal states and threatened 
Rome, and there was a risk that the misdeeds of the papacy 
might result in the meeting of another general council. The 
Pope, whose policy was entirely selfish, did not hesitate to 
avert the danger by a sudden and complete change of front 

284 European History, 1273-1494 

In 1483 he made peace with Naples and Ferrara, excom 
municated the Venetians for disturbing the peace of Italy, 
and prepared to seize the cities which Venice had acquired 
within the papal dominions. But his restless greed was 
again doomed to disappointment. Venice adroitly ended 
the war by the treaty of Bagnolo, in which the only loser was 
the unfortunate duke of Ferrara, and Sixtus was chagrined 
to find that he had gained absolutely nothing by his ill-faith. 
Soon afterwards he died on August 12, 1484, and con- 
temporary lampoons declared that he died of peace. 

4 Nulla vis potuit saevum extinguere Sixtum : 
Audito tantum nomine pacis, obit.' 

In Rome itself the pontificate of Sixtus iv. had been as 
turbulent as his foreign relations. The great families, and 
Disorders in especially the Colonnas, had opposed the advance- 
Rome, ment of the Pope's nephews, and had thus drawn 
on themselves the wrath of Sixtus. A long civil war ensued, 
in which the barons allied themselves with the foreign 
enemies of the Pope, at one time with Florence, at another 
with Naples or with Venice. In this war Sixtus displayed 
all his cold-blooded cruelty and treachery. The stronghold 
of his enemies was the castle of Marino, which was sur- 
rendered by Lorenzo Colonna on condition that he should 
be restored to his family. Sixtus fulfilled his promise by 
sending them his corpse. The mother appeared at the papal 
court, and producing her son's head, exclaimed, ' See how a 
Pope keeps faith ! ' It was a graphic picture of the terrible 
degradation of Rome by the Pope's abandonment of spiritual 
aims for temporal ambition. Directly the Pope's death was 
known, the Colonnas headed a rising which saf ked the 
palaces of the Riarios and drove their adherents from Rome. 

The character of Innocent vm. has been painted by some 
historians in blacker colours than it deserves. It is true that 
innocent he was the first Pope who recognised his own 
vm., 1484-92. children, but they seem to have been born before 
he took orders, and his devotion to them did not involve 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 285 

him in such scandals as disgrace his predecessor and his 
successor. The principality of Anguillara was purchased for 
his son, Franceschetto Cibo, but the latter was more inter- 
ested in gaining money than power, and his first act after his 
father's death was to sell his territories to Virginio Orsino. 
Innocent himself had little capacity and little interest in 
politics. He spent great part of his time in a state of 
lethargy, which not infrequently gave the appearance of death. 
Among those who exercised a dominant influence over the 
feeble Pope was Lorenzo de' Medici, who married his daughter 
Maddalena to Franceschetto Cibo, and as a part of the 
bargain, obtained the cardinal's hat for his second son, 
Giovanni, at the age of fourteen. It was under Innocent 
viii. that the Medici obtained that position at the papal 
court which enabled them to produce two almost successive 
popes, Leo x. and Clement vn., and enabled these popes 
to use the power of the Church to suppress the liberties of 
their native city. 

By far the greatest difficulty of Innocent vm.'s pontificate 
was connected with Naples. Ever since the withdrawal of 
John of Calabria in 1464, the bastard house of Risingof 
Aragon had enjoyed undisputed possession of the Neapolitan 
Neapolitan throne. Jacopo Piccinino, the con- arons ' 
dottiere, who had been formidable in the previous struggle, 
was enticed to Naples by Ferrante with the aid of Francesco 
Sforza, and was treacherously put to death in 1465. At the 
time of his alliance with Sixtus iv. against Lorenzo de' Medici, 
Ferrante had succeeded in reducing his tribute to his papal 
suzerain to the annual gift of a white horse. The freedom 
from external danger enabled the king to make the royal 
authority despotic, and to annul the independence of the 
feudal nobles. His son, Alfonso of Calabria, gained an 
undeserved military reputation by the withdrawal of the 
Turks from Otranto, and from that time was associated with 
his father in the government. Under his influence the royal 
rule became even more tyrannical and oppressive, and in 

286 European History, 1273- 1494 

1485 the barons determined to rebel. Innocent viil, who 
desired to extort the old tribute from Naples which his pre- 
decessor had commuted, espoused their cause, and Venice, 
always hostile to the house of Aragon, gave secret assistance. 
It was decided to revive the Angevin pretensions, and Rene of 
Lorraine, the grandson of Rene le Bon, was invited to come 
to Italy as a claimant of the crown for which his ancestors 
had so long contended. But the rebellion ended in complete 
failure. Neither Florence nor Milan would consent to such 
a disturbance of the normal relations of Italy as would be 
involved in French intervention. The military force of the 
Neapolitan rulers was overwhelming, and Alfonso, for the 
second time, led an army against Rome. To complete 
the disasters of the Pope and his allies, Rene of Lorraine, 
who was engaged in prosecuting a hopeless claim upon Pro- 
vence at the French court, allowed the opportunity of gaining 
Naples to slip from his hands. But the mere threat of a 
French invasion was enough to induce Ferrante and Alfonso 
to come to terms. The Pope was bought off by the restora- 
tion of the former tribute, and the Neapolitan barons, 
deprived of all hope of assistance, submitted on the under- 
standing that a full amnesty should be granted to them. 
The promise was broken with that cynical disregard of good 
faith which marked the politics of Italy in the fifteenth 
century. The nobles who returned to Naples were imprisoned, 
and were never again seen alive. The sole survivors were 
those who preferred to remain in exile rather than trust the 
rulers whom they had endeavoured to depose. These men 
eagerly watched for an opportunity which might enable them 
at once to avenge the death of their associates and to regain 
their own confiscated territories. In 1493 tnev were at ^ ast 
enabled to act. The death of Lorenzo de* Medici, and the 
growing alienation of Ludovico Sforza from Naples, removed 
some of the chief securities for peace in Italy. By the advice 
of Venice the Neapolitan exiles petitioned for the interven- 
tion, not of the duke of Lorraine, but of the French king, 

Naples and the Papal States in Fifteenth Century 287 

Charles vin. Before any final decision had been come to at 
the French court, Ferrante had died on January 25, 1494, 
and Alfonso II. was left to face the danger of which his own 
violence and misrule had been the principal cause. 

Innocent vin. had not lived to witness this new crisis in 
the history of Naples. His death in 1492 had been followed 
by a very important election. The most prominent Election of 
candidates for the suffrages of the conclave were AiexanderVi. 
Ascanio Sforza, the brother of Ludovico, and Giuliano della 
Rovere, the nephew of Sixtus iv. But neither could obtain 
the requisite majority, and in the end Ascanio Sforza was 
bribed to support the candidature of the wealthiest of the 
Roman cardinals, Rodrigo Borgia, a nephew of Calixtus 
in. The well-known fact that he had several natural children, 
born to him not only since he was a priest, but since he had 
been a cardinal, seems to have been completely disregarded. 
A lavish expenditure of money and promises secured his 
election, and he assumed the title of Alexander vi. The 
first great problem which the new Pope had to solve concerned 
the approaching struggle in Naples. In spite of his obliga- 
tions to Ascanio Sforza, and his antagonism to the Orsini, 
who were closely connected at this time with the house of 
Aragon, Alexander allowed himself to be drawn in 1493 
into an alliance with. Ferrante, and on his death he recognised 
the title of Alfonso 11. The French invasion, which the Pope 
was thus pledged to resist, threatened the papacy for some 
time with serious dangers ; but in the end it proved one of 
the chief circumstances which enabled Alexander himself, 
and afterwards Julius 11., to erect the temporal power upon 
firmer foundations than any of their predecessors had been 
able to construct. 



The period of oligarchical rule in Florence — Maso and Rinaldo degli Albizrl 
— Niccolo da Uzzano — The opposition and Giovanni de' Medici — War 
with Filippo Maria Visconti — The Catasto — Unsuccessful attack upon 
Lucca— Expulsion of the Medici — Fall of the Albizzi, and return of 
Cosimo de' Medici— Character and methods of Cosimo's rule — Luca 
Pitti and the coup d'itat of 1458 — Cosimo's foreign policy — Piero de 
Medici and his opponents — Victory of Piero — Accession of Lorenzo de' 
Medici — Approximation to monarchy — Alienation of Naples, and quarrel 
with Sixtus IV. — Conspiracy of the Pazzi — War in 1478 and 1479 — 
Lorenzo goes to Naples — Conclusion of peace — Constitutional changes 
in 1480— Lorenzo's later years — Importance of his death — Reckless con- 
duct of the younger Piero. 

The leaders of the Florentine democracy paid a heavy 
penalty for their momentary triumph in 1378. A violent 
reaction in 1382 restored the oligarchy under the 
rule in leadership of the Albizzi, and for the next fifty 

Florence. years the curious machinery of the civic constitu- 
tion was carefully manipulated to secure the ascendency of 
the dominant faction. Although it is by no means the most 
famous, there can be no doubt that this is one of the most 
successful periods in Florentine history. Under the resolute 
guidance of a close oligarchy, Florence maintained a heroic 
struggle against the encroachments of Gian Galeazzo Visconti 
until his death in 1402 saved the city from almost in- 
evitable submission. When the Milanese dominions fell to 
pieces, Florence seized the opportunity to gain a great prize ; 
and the city of Pisa, which commanded the mouth of the 
Arno, was in 1406 compelled to surrender after an obstinate 

Florence under tkt Medici 289 

resistance (see p. 244). Then followed a long war with 
Ladislas of Naples, in the course of which Florence acquired 
the important town of Cortona. And in 142 1 the commercial 
interests of the city were strengthened by the purchase from 
Genoa of a second port — Livorno. 

For a long time the active leader of the victorious faction 
and the most influential politician in Florence was Maso 
degli Albizzi, a nephew of the Piero degli Albizzi who had 
been so prominent in the party strife of the fourteenth 
century (see p. 164). Maso had returned from exile in 1382, 
and at various times held most of the chief offices of the 
state. While he was gonfalonier in 1393 harsh measures 
were taken to complete the defeat of the democrats. But, 
apart from the severity shown to the unfortunate Alberti and 
their supporters, Maso showed himself a wise and tolerant 
ruler. When he died in 141 7, his place was, to some extent, 
taken by his eldest son, Rinaldo, who displayed great industry 
and integrity, but less prudence and insight than his father. 
The almost hereditary prominence of these two men did 
much to accustom the Florentines to that disguised despotism 
which was afterwards established by the Medici. But the 
Albizzi never enjoyed such undivided ascendency as was held 
by Cosimo and Lorenzo de' Medici. At least as influential a 
leader as Rinaldo was Niccolo da Uzzano, who is frequently 
spoken of by contemporaries as the head of the party. He 
seems to have been a sincere enthusiast for aristocratic rule, 
and it was greatly due to his influence that the Albizzi were 
prevented from making themselves absolute masters of the 
city. His reputation for wisdom and insight was deservedly 
high, and his death in 1432 proved a fatal blow to the party 
in whose counsels he had always been on the side of 

In spite of the services which it rendered to the state, the 
oligarchical government did not succeed in averting dis- 
content and hostility. The strongest political sentiment 
among the Florentines was the love of equality, which found 


290 European History \ 127 3- 1 494 

practical expression in the system of filling offices by lot. 
This love of equality was more outraged by the domination 
of a clique of ruling families than it would have been by the 
government of a single despot. The lesser guilds and the 
lower classes resented their virtual exclusion from office ; and 
many wealthy citizens, who had incurred the displeasure of 
the dominant faction, found themselves equally left in the 
cold. Moreover, the militant foreign policy of the govern- 
ment was extremely expensive ; and the burden of taxation, as 
was always the case in Florence, fell more heavily upon the 
opponents than upon the supporters of the government. 
Gradually the cause of the opposition came to be more and 
more identified with the house of Medici. The action of 
Salvestro de' Medici in 1378 had identified the name with 
the popular cause, though he did not personally profit by its 
short-lived victory. In 1393, when the severe measures of 
Maso degli Albizzi provoked a popular rising, it was to Vieri 
de' Medici, a kinsman of Salvestro, that the mob appealed for 
guidance, and it was his moderate advice which checked the 
rebellion. But it was a member of another branch of the 
family — Giovanni de' Medici — who, in the second decade of 
the fifteenth century, came to be regarded as the leader of 
those who disapproved of the conduct of affairs by the ruling 
party. Giovanni was a banker and money-changer, and was 
so successful in his business that he became the richest 
citizen in Florence, if not in Italy. He employed his wealth 
in extending his popularity, though he was extremely careful 
to avoid any action which might give the government a handle 
against him. In 142 1 he was drawn as gonfalonier, and 
Niccolo da Uzzano wished to cancel the appointment as 
dangerous. But Giovanni's hold on the people, and especially 
on the lesser guilds, made such a step perilous, and his two 
months of office passed uneventfully. Giovanni de' Medici 
died in 1429, leaving two sons — Cosimo, afterwards the ruler 
of Florence, and Lorenzo, whose descendants in the sixteenth 
century became giand-dukes of Tuscany. 

Florence under the Media. 29 ' 

As long as the oligarchical government was successful, 
there was little prospect of its overthrow, but from 1421 its 
credit steadily declined. The reunion of the Warwith 
Milanese territories under Filippo Maria Vis- Fiiippo Maria 
conti constituted a serious menace to Florence, Vlsconti - 
and the imperative duty of self-defence compelled the republic 
to embark once more in a desperate struggle for existence. 
In 1424 the Florentine army, under Pandolfo Malatesta, was 
defeated with great loss in the battle of Zagonara. A 
despairing appeal was made to Venice for assistance, and 
the intervention of Carmagnola saved Florence from 
annihilation. But the spoils of victory were monopolised 
by Venice, and the aggrandisement of their ally was by no 
means popular with the Florentines. The power of the 
oligarchy had rested upon the success of their foreign policy, 
and alarming discontent was the inevitable result of an 
unsuccessful war. Two important measures were resorted 
to in the hope of restoring the prestige of the dominant 
faction. The heavy expenses of the war had called attention 
to the old grievance of arbitrary taxation, and in The catasto 
1427 a reform was introduced to provide a more of *4a7- 
equitable basis of assessment. According to Machiavelli, 
the acceptance of the Catasto, as it was called, was due to the 
influence of Giovanni de' Medici. Every citizen was to 
report to the gonfalonier of his district his whole income 
from every source; and concealment was to be punished by 
confiscation. From fixed capital the income was to be 
estimated at seven per cent. These reports were to be 
collected into four books, one for each quarter of the city; 
and henceforth the assessment of taxation was to be deter- 
mined by them instead of depending upon a man's political 
position and opinions. As wealth fluctuated rapidly in a 
mercantile community, a new catasto was to be made every 
three years. It was a notable sacrifice on the part of the 
ruling clique, and probably tended to weaken their unanimity, 
but it helped to pacify public ooinion for a time. Rinaldo 

292 European History \ 1273- 1494 

degli Albizzi now came forward with a new scheme for 
restoring the credit of his party. Ever since the days of 
Attack upon Castruccio Castracani, the annexation of Lucca 
Lucca, 1430. had been a darling object of Florentine ambition. 
Lucca was, at this time, ruled by one of its own citizens — 
Paolo Guinigi — who had sided with Milan in the recent war. 
Rinaldo proposed to treat this as a pretext for attacking 
Lucca. It was in vain that Niccolo da Uzzano pointed out 
the risks of the enterprise. Giovanni de' Medici was dead, 
and his son Cosimo supported the proposal of Rinaldo. His 
conduct on this occasion has exposed him to the suspicion 
that he foresaw the failure of the enterprise, and was willing 
to ruin his opponent even at the expense of the state. War 
was declared in 1430, and Rinaldo degli Albizzi was appointed 
one of the commissioners to superintend the siege of Lucca. 
The enterprise was as unsuccessful as it was unjust, and its 
failure was ultimately fatal to the party in power. Rinaldo, 
unjustly accused of peculation, threw up his command in 
disgust. The duke of Milan was drawn into the war, and 
the two most famous condottieri of the day — Francesco Sforza 
and Niccolo Piccinino — were employed in his service. After 
suffering serious reverses in the field, the Florentines were 
glad to accept the mediation of the emperor Sigismund, and 
in 1433 peace was made, leaving things as they were before 
the war. 

But no treaty could restore the previous conditions within 
the city. Niccolo da Uzzano had died in 1432, and his death 
deprived his party of their strongest support, 
the Medici, while it removed the moderating influence on 
1433- t heir conduct. Cosimo de' Medici was at once 

more ambitious and less cautious than his father, and he and 
Rinaldo degli Albizzi were now avowed rivals for ascendency. 
The latter, conscious of his growing weakness, determined to 
have recourse to violence. In September 1433, when the 
signoria was composed of Rinaldo's adherents, Cosimo de' 
Medici was summoned to appear before the magistrates, and 

Florence under the Medici 293 

was imprisoned while his fate was deliberated upon. Foi 
some time it was generally expected that he would be put to 
death. But the wealth which his father had collected stood 
him in good stead, and his judges were not proof against 
corruption. The majority decided for a milder sentence. 
Cosimo was banished for ten years to Padua, and his brothel 
Lorenzo for five years to Venice. Most of their prominent 
adherents shared their exile, and the Medici were declared 
incapable of holding any office in Florence. 

The victory of Albizzi seemed to be assured when Cosimo 
went into exile in October 1433. The ordinary machinery 
of a Florentine coup d'etat had been set in motion. The 
people had been convened in the piazza, and had approved 
the appointment of a balia or revolutionary committee. 
But by a strange oversight on the part of so experienced 
a partisan, Rinaldo had failed to obtain for this committee 
the right of refilling the bags with the names of candidates 
for office. The result was that the weakness of his position 
was only slightly modified. His own party was divided and 
inclined to be mutinous because the catasto was not abolished. 
And the alienation of public opinion by military failures 
could only be removed by some conspicuous success. In 
1434 Florence became involved in a war in Romagna between 
Filippo Maria Visconti and the Pope. Again her troops were 
defeated in the field, and her ally, Eugenius iv., driven from 
Rome by the Colonnas, was forced to seek a refuge within 
her walls. In this moment of depression the accident of lot 
resulted in the formation of a signoria in September 1434, 
which was favourable to the Medici. Rinaldo Recall of the 
in his turn was summoned before a hostile Medici » M34- 
magistracy, and he came accompanied by eight hundred 
armed men. But he lost the favourable opportunity for 
overawing his opponents by consenting to an interview with 
Eugenius iv., who had offered his mediation. This delay 
proved fatal. The popolo minuto took up arms and sur- 
rounded the piazza ; while the signoria called in armed 

294 European History \ 1273-1494 

peasants from the country. The parliament created a balia 
in the interests of the party which had for the moment the 
upper hand. The Medici and Alberti families were recalled 
and declared eligible for office. Rinaldo degli Albizzi with 
his son and about seventy partisans were banished from 
Florence, and few of them ever returned to their native 
city. Cosimo de' Medici, who was in Venice when the 
news of this sudden revolution reached him, re-entered 
Florence on October 6, 1434. For the next three centuries 
the history of Florence is bound up with the history of the 
house of Medici. 

The ascendency which the dramatic events of 1433 and 
1434 gave to Cosimo de' Medici was not only retained 
during his life, but became for a time a hereditary possession. 
Yet it is impossible to point to any great apparent change in 
the constitution. The old magistracies and councils con- 
Character of tmue ^ to ex * st anc * to fulfil their former functions. 
Medicean Cosimo was extremely careful to avoid any out- 
Rule * ward signs of despotism. He continued to livo 

in his former residence; and nothing in his dress or his 
manner of life distinguished him from his fellow-citizens. 
Like his defeated rival, he surrounded himself with a sort of 
body-guard of allied families, whose interests he skilfully 
identified with his own. To all appearance this was as much 
an oligarchy as the government which it had displaced. The 
difference is to be found in two points. On the one hand 
Cosimo was enabled, partly by his wealth, and partly by his 
extensive foreign connections, to exercise a far stronger 
control over his adherents and over the state than either 
Maso or Rinaldo degli Albizzi had ever been able to wield. 
And, on the other hand, the influential families who rose to 
power under Cosimo did not represent the domination of a 
class as the rule of the Albizzi had done. The Medici never 
forgot that they owed their original rise to their champion- 
ship of democratic equality ; and they were careful to avoid 
an/ unnecessary collision with the prejudices of the mob, 

Florence under the Medici 295 

Even a disguised despotism must aim at the obliteration of 
classes, and this can be clearly traced in the policy of Cosimo. 
He transferred several families from the lesser to the greater 
guilds, and thus obscured a distinction which had been at 
one time of supereminent importance. And he even pro- 
cured the repeal of the disqualifications against the old 
nobility on which the foundations of the historic municipality 
had been built. 

It is not difficult to trace the methods by which Cosimo main- 
tained the power which had fallen into his hands. He had 
two primary objects to attain : he must prevent Method8 
the more important offices from falling into the of Cosimo's 
hands of malcontents, and he must diminish Government - 
their number by bringing home to them the hardships and 
dangers of opposition and the rewards that were to be gained 
by loyalty. Cosimo boasted of the humanity of his rule, and 
he was always careful to intrust to his followers the initiation 
of harsh proposals. But his policy was really one of proscrip- 
tion. The Albizzi and their allies were treated with the 
greatest severity. Not only were they banished, but their 
place of exile was constantly changed, and they were hunted 
about Italy like wild beasts. It was no wonder that their 
patriotism gave way to a desire for revenge, and they joined 
the duke of Milan against their native city. But the battle 
of Anghiari in 1440 destroyed all hope of success, while 
their treason gave a pretext for more merciless treatment. 
The financial administration was employed to the same ends. 
The catasto of 1427 was abolished, and the system of 
arbitrary assessment was revived. This enabled Cosimo to 
reward his adherents and to punish malcontents. Giannozzo 
Mannetti, a harmless student, whose only offence was his 
popularity, was called upon to pay taxes to the amount of 
135,000 florins, and could only avoid ruin by going into 
voluntary exile. It was a common saying that Cosimo 
employed the taxes, as northern princes used the dagger, to 
rid himself of his opponents. 

296 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

For the regulation of offices Cosimo employed the revolu- 
tionary machinery which was in theory the ultimate enforce- 
ment of popular sovereignty. The balia which had recalled 
the Medici in 1434 had received from the parliament full 
power to reform the state. Every five years this power was 
renewed— in 1439, 1444, 1449, an d 1454. The most import- 
ant act of the balia was the appointment of ten accoppiatori 
to superintend the filling of the bags with the names of those 
who were eligible for office. This was in itself a fairly 
ample assurance that no opposition to the Medici could be 
anticipated from the magistracy ; and to make it doubly sure, 
the names of the gonfalonier and priors were selected every 
two months by the accoppiatori. They were made, as the 
phrase went, not by lot, but by hand. But as time went on, 
this prolonged departure from normal procedure gave rise to 
grumbling ; and as there were good reasons for avoiding at 
the moment any appearance of disunion in the city, Cosimo 
determined to yield. In 1455 the balia, which had been 
renewed the year before, was abolished, and the practice of 
drawing the names of the signoria was revived. The con- 
cession was more apparent than real ; for the bags had only 
recently been refilled, and three years would elapse before 
a new squittinio would be necessary. For that time the 
ascendency of the Medici party was secure, and before it had 
elapsed measures might be taken to prolong it. But that the 
revival of liberty was of some moment is proved by the 
proposal in the signoria of January 1458 to restore the catasto. 
Cosimo's partisans urged him to employ energetic measures 
to defeat a scheme which attacked their own pockets. But 
he was not unwilling to teach them how dependent they 
were upon his support, and he allowed the system of strict 
and impartial assessment to be revived. 

There was one very obvious danger to which such a 
Coupd'6tat government as that of Cosimo de' Medici was 
of 1458. exposed. Jealousy and ill-will might arise among 

his intimate associates. It was his deliberate policy to 

Florence under the Medici 297 

place them in prominent positions, and they were perforce 
intrusted with the secrets of his administration. One or 
more of them might seek to use their experience for their 
own advancement and to free themselves from the control of 
their patron. This danger was partially realised in Cosimo's 
later years, and serious difficulties arose from the same source 
in the time of his son. In 1458 it had become a grave 
question how far the revival of republican freedom should be 
allowed to go. The death of Alfonso of Naples removed 
one great motive for continuing the conciliatory policy of the 
last three years; and the appointment to the gonfaloniership 
of Luca Pitti, one of the oldest and closest of Cosimo's 
adherents, gave the opportunity for decisive action. After 
careful precautions had been taken to control the avenues to 
the piazza and to impress the mob, a parliament was convened 
by the ringing the great bell of the Palazzo Publico. A balia 
of 350 citizens, together with the existing signoria, was 
endowed with full authority. Accoppiatori were appointed 
to fill the bags, and a permanent committee, the Otto di 
£alia y received the control of the civic police. By a curious 
irony it was announced to the people that the priors should 
henceforth be called, not priori delle arti, but priori delta 
Liberta. The name was chosen, says Machiavelli, to designate 
what had been lost. 

But in this revolution to confirm the previous revolution 
Cosimo had carefully abstained from taking any active share. 
In the eyes of the mob the victorious politician 
was Luca Pitti, who seemed to himself, as to 
others, to overshadow his employer. Puffed up with ambition, 
he began to build the magnificent palace on the southern side 
of the Arno, which, afterwards the residence of the grand- 
dukes of Tuscany, and now the shrine of one of the greatest 
picture galleries in the world, has done more than any 
political achievement to preserve to posterity the name of its 
founder. Cosimo was probably convinced that little real 
danger was to be dreaded from Luca Pitti, and he made no 

298 European History \ 1273- 1494 

attempt to alter or correct the popular impression. As long 
as his influence was really unimpaired he cared little who 
had the appearance and pomp of supremacy. 

As a great banker, Cosimo de' Medici was an important 
personage in many foreign courts, quite apart from his 
cosimo's political position in Florence. With very notable 
Foreign dexterity he played his two parts so as to make 

Pollcy ' each improve the other. He employed his 

financial relations to strengthen his hold upon the strings of 
Florentine policy, and he utilised his political influence to 
increase his business and his profits. It is in foreign affairs 
far more than in domestic administration that he showed 
himself to be the real ruler of Florence. He inherited from 
the Albizzi a struggle against Filippo Maria Visconti and an 
alliance with Venice. As long as the duke of Milan threat- 
ened the independence of Florence, and especially when he 
espoused the cause of the exiled Albizzi, Cosimo could not 
safely depart from the traditional policy of Florence. But 
the death of Filippo Maria in 1447 and the establishment of 
a republic in Milan gave him more scope for originality. He 
had to choose between the aggrandisement of Venice in 
Lombardy, which must have been the inevitable result of the 
maintenance of the Milanese republic, and the erection of 
a military power in Milan which should hold Venice in 
check. Without any hesitation he decided for the latter 
alternative, and the later history of Italy was vitally influenced 
by his choice. The financial and other aid which he received 
from Florence was one of the most potent factors in enabling 
Francesco Sforza to obtain the lordship of Milan in 1450, 
and to conclude the treaty of Lodi with Venice in 1454. 

Another hardly less momentous question for Italy arose 
after the death of Alfonso v. of Naples, when in 1460 the 
Angevin claim was revived in antagonism to Ferrante. 
Although Florence was closely allied with France by her 
Guelf traditions and her commercial interests, Cosimo was 
resolute in his support of Ferrante and in urging Francesco 

Florence under the Media 299 

Sforza to do the same. Again his attitude helped to turn 
the scale in a struggle where, for a time, the balance was 
undecided. He just lived to hear of the retirement of John 
of Calabria, which secured the bastard house of Aragon from 
serious attack for the next thirty years. By his action in 
these two great crises Cosimo must be regarded as the real 
author of that triple alliance between Naples, Milan, and 
Florence, of which his grandson in later years made such 
a masterly use. 

Cosimo's death in 1464 left the headship of the family 
to his only surviving son, Piero, who was already middle- 
aged and in feeble health. The five years during piero 
which he survived his father are chiefly note- Medici and 
worthy because they witnessed the great split in his °PP° nents - 
the Medicean party, which careful observers must have seen 
for some time to be inevitable. Four of the most pro- 
minent associates of Cosimo — Luca Pitti, Diotisalvi Neroni, 
Angelo Acciaiuoli, and Niccolo Soderini — were unwilling to 
give to the son the deference which they had shown to the 
father. Luckily for the Medici, their unanimity did not go 
far. The first three were actuated by motives of personal 
ambition, which might easily lead them to quarrel with 
each other, while Niccolo Soderini was an enthusiast for 
democracy, and had no desire to humble Piero in order to 
exalt another in his place. Neroni was the ablest of the 
leaders, but he was lacking in personal courage, and pre- 
ferred to employ intrigue and constitutional methods rather 
than violence. It was only gradually that two parties were 
organised in avowed opposition to each other. The anti- 
Medicean party received the nickname of the Mountain, 
because the great palace of Luca Pitti was rising on the 
hill of San Giorgio. The residence of the Medici stood on 
level ground to the north of the Arno, and hence Piero's 
adherents were known as the Plain. 

The first trial of strength took place in 1465, when the 
opposition made a bid for popularity by proposing to abolish 

300 European History \ 1273- 1494 

the balia of 1458 and to restore the constitutional method 
of filling offices by lot. Piero was too cautious to oppose 
such a measure, and it was carried with virtual unanimity. 
In November the first draw took place, and Niccolo Soderini 
became gonfalonier. Disunion among the leaders prevented 
any use being made of the advantage which chance had 
given them, and Soderini went out of office at the end of 
December without having effected any further change in the 
constitution. In the next year the party strife was extended 
to foreign politics. Venice had never forgotten or forgiven 
the part which Florence had played in establishing the 
Sforzas in Milan. Now that Francesco was dead and suc- 
ceeded by the more reckless Galeazzo Maria, there was 
some possibility of evicting a dynasty which was a perpetual 
bar to Venetian expansion in Lombardy. But to overthrow 
the Sforzas it was first necessary to overthrow the Medici. 
And so the leaders of the Mountain made overtures to 
Venice, regardless of the consideration that a complete 
reversal of foreign policy might damage the interests of 
I lorence. The Venetians were too cautious to commit them- 
selves to an alliance with a faction which might fail, and 
moreover they had the Turkish war on their hands. But 
there was a secret understanding that if Piero de' Medici 
were got rid of, either by the dagger or by a revolution, 
his opponents would be aided by troops under Bartolcmmeo 
Coleone, a condottiere in the pay of Venice, and Ercole 
d'Este, brother of the duke of Ferrara. 

Piero knew enough of these schemes to induce him to 
draw closer the alliance with Milan and Naples which his 

father had bequeathed to him. His elder son, 
Cnsis of 1466. _ ■.«•■« • /.-.-i 

Lorenzo, received his first experience of diplomacy 

by being sent on an embassy to Ferrante. The news that 

Ercole d'Este had advanced in the direction of Pistoia 

brought matters to a crisis. Piero hurried to Florence from 

his villa at Careggi, and is said to have escaped an ambush 

on the way through the vigilance and acuteness of Lorenzo. 

Florence under the Medici 301 

Galeazzo Maria Sforza was invited to send troops to the 
assistance of Florence, and the peasants from the Medici 
estates were armed and brought into the city. On the other 
side Niccolo Soderini collected two hundred men who were 
kept in arms in the Pitti palace. Civil war seemed inevitable, 
but by a tacit agreement active violence was postponed till 
the new signoria was drawn at the end of August. Fortune 
or skill favoured the Medici, and a gonfalonier and priors 
devoted to their interests took up office on September 1. 
On the next day the great bell called the people to a parlia- 
ment in the piazza. The armed adherents of Piero com- 
manded every entrance, and the dissentients who obtained 
admission were two few or too timid to make themselves 
heard. A numerous balia was proposed by the signoria 
and approved by acclamation. For the next ten years the 
priors were to be made by hand. Neroni, Acciaiuolo, and 
Niccolo Soderini were banished. Luca Pitti, who had been 
bribed or persuaded to desert his associates, was allowed 
to remain, but his ostentation had made him unpopular, 
and he spent the rest of his life in harmless insignificance. 
His gigantic palace remained unfinished till it was com- 
pleted by the Medici in the next century. 

There still remained the danger of foreign intervention. 
Neroni, who had been banished to Sicily, defied the decree 
and repaired to Venice. It was decided to carry Failur f 
out the scheme which had been arranged in the the anti- 
previous year. Bartolommeo Coleone was to Medicean «« 
conduct in the interest of the exiles what was ostensibly 
a private enterprise. He was joined in the spring of 1467 
by Ercole d'Este and several of the smaller princes of 
Romagna. Neapolitan and Milanese auxiliaries were sent 
to the aid of Florence, whose forces were under the supreme 
command of Federigo da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino. 
Italy watched with eager interest the progress of the cam- 
paign, which was conducted with the punctilious precision 
so dear to the professional soldier of Italy. There was a 

302 European History, 1273- 1494 

great deal of marching, but very little fighting and very 
little execution. The armies never came anywhere near 
Florence, whose fate was supposed to be at stake, and no 
decisive advantage was gained by either side. But this was 
in itself decisive enough. It was sufficient for the Medici 
to avoid defeat ; the exiles could hope for nothing unless 
they gained a great victory. In 1468 peace was negotiated 
by Pope Paul 11., leaving matters in statu quo. The exiles 
lost all hope of returning to Florence. Niccolo Soderini 
died in Germany in 1474; Neroni lived in Rome till 1482; 
Angelo Acciaiuoli entered a Carthusian monastery in Naples. 

The struggle of 1466 and 1467 removed any possible 
doubt as to the position of the Medici. The whole aim 
Accession of of the opposition and their supporters had been 
Lorenzo. t o effect their overthrow, and the attempt had 
failed. They were undistinguished by any title, but they 
were as obviously the rulers of Florence as if they called 
themselves dukes or counts. This was made clear after 
the death of Piero de' Medici on December 3, 1469. 
Tommaso Soderini, Niccolo's brother, who had remained 
faithful during the recent crisis, convened a pratica or 
informal meeting of the principal citizens. He proposed 
that Lorenzo de' Medici, who was only twenty-one, and 
therefore below the legal age for holding any magistracy 
in the republic, should be invited to exercise the power 
that had been wielded by Cosimo and Piero. A deputa- 
tion was chosen to carry the offer, which Lorenzo accepted 
after a becoming show of hesitation. 

Lorenzo's conduct shows that he was fully conscious of 
the altered position which events had enabled him to assume. 
Hitherto the Medici had been content to. intermarry with 
Florentine families, and thus to recognise their equality of 
rank. But Lorenzo, as a prince, must seek a foreign bride, 
and he married Clarice Orsini, a daughter of the famous 
family of Roman nobles. Though his own tastes led him 
to show an interest in art and literature, and to encourage 

Florence under the Media 303 

the amusements of the people, he was also inspired by the 
wish to establish a court on the lines which had become 
familiar in the principalities of Italy. In their intercourse 
with Lorenzo the Florentines snowed a deference and even 
a servility which would have been deemed wholly out of 
place in the days of Cosimo and Piero. This growth of 
a monarchical element within the republic is probably the 
explanation of the numerous and obscure con- constitutional 
stitutional changes which were made or attempted changes. 
in the early years of Lorenzo's administration. Their essen- 
tial object was to secure absolute control of appointments 
to the signory. In 1470 it was proposed that the accoppiatori 
should be chosen every year by a new college of forty-five, 
consisting of men who had discharged this function since 
the return of the Medici in 1434. The scheme was de- 
nounced as an attempt to subject the city to forty-five 
tyrants, and failed to pass the council of a hundred. In 
the next year, however, the same object was attained in a 
different way. The existing accoppiatori were associated with 
the sitting members of the signoria as a permanent committee, 
and the names which they proposed were to be carried in 
the Hundred by a bare majority, instead of by the usual 
majority of two-thirds. In the same year the legislative 
functions of the old councils of the people and of the 
commune were suspended for ten years. It is difficult to 
estimate the precise significance of these and other changes, 
but their general effect was to narrow the circle of families 
among whose members the more important offices circulated. 
This was certain to excite dissatisfaction ; and among the 
malcontents we find the Pazzi, an old noble family which 
had devoted itself to commerce, and now became rivals of 
the Medici in business as well as in politics. 

Events proved that discontent within Florence was not 
very formidable, unless it was reinforced by Foreign 
difficulties in foreign relations. Lorenzo had been policy. 
brought up by his grandfather to regard Milan and Naples as 

304 European History, 1273- 1494 

the normal allies of Florence, Venice as a dangerous rival 
of Florence and a resolute opponent of the Medici ascend- 
ency, and the papacy as a variable force depending on the 
idiosyncracies of rapidly changing popes, and requiring to be 
very carefully watched. Lorenzo had learned the lesson, but 
with the egotism and self-sufficiency of youth he was not 
disinclined to attempt a few experiments on his own account. 
If he could establish friendly relations with the papacy and 
with Venice, he might make his own position stronger than 
ever, and might pose as mediator and almost as arbiter 
in the relations of the Italian states. On the election of 
Sixtus iv. in 1471, Lorenzo went in person as Florentine 
envoy to carry the usual congratulations. He returned not 
only with a confirmation of his banking privileges in Rome, 
but with the lucrative appointment of receiver of the papal 
revenues. At the same time he opened negotiations with 
Venice, which led in 1474 to the embassy of Tommaso 
Soderini and the conclusion of an alliance between Venice, 
Milan, and Florence. 

But these new connections were dearly purchased by the 
alienation of Naples. Ferrante regarded Venice as the in- 
veterate enemy of his kingdom and his family. 
Naples and As long as the Medici had identified their in- 
quarrei with terests with his own he had been eager to uphold 

Sixtus IV. ., 5 • t-1 -r, j j 

their power in Florence. But a good under- 
standing of Milan and Florence with Venice threatened 
Naples with isolation, and Ferrante must seek support else- 
where. Sixtus had already allowed the Neapolitan tribute 
to be commuted for a formal gift \ and as the ties between 
Naples and the papacy were drawn closer, a coolness grew 
up between Sixtus and Lorenzo. The origin of the quarrel 
is to be found in the opposition of Florence to the aggrandise- 
ment of Girolamo Riario (see p. 282). Lorenzo refused to 
find the money for the purchase of Imola, and the Pope 
transferred the post of receiver-general from the Medici to 
the Pazzi. The dispute was speedily embittered. Sixtus 

Florence under the Medici 305 

appointed Francesco Salviati to the archbishopric of Pisa 
without consulting Lorenzo, and in defiance of his wishes. 
The Florentines, on their side, refused to admit the arch- 
bishop to his see; they supported the Vitelli in Citta di 
Castello, and in many ways showed an inclination to thwart 
the Pope's schemes in Romagna. For some time, however, 
the dispute did not seem likely to lead to serious results. 
But the death of Galeazzo Mar a Sforza in 1476, and the 
obvious weakness of the government of the regent, Bona of 
Savoy, encouraged the opponents of the Medici to bolder 
acts than they would have contemplated when Milan could 
give efficient support to Florence. In 1477 Girolamo Riario 
and Francesco Pazzi began to discuss in Rome conspiracy 
how to overthrow a family which stood in the of the Pazzi. 
way of both of them. By the beginning of 1478 the main 
outlines of the conspiracy had been agreed to. Francesco 
Salviati and Jacopo Pazzi, the head of the family in Florence, 
had agreed to take part in the plot. It was understood that 
the Pope and the king of Naples would give active support, 
but they took no responsibilities for the actual means by 
which the desired end was to be attained. Assassination 
was a recognised weapon in Italian politics, and it was 
obviously difficult to effect a revolution in Florence without 
it. Sixtus iv. might plead that he was ignorant of this part 
of the design, but morally the plea is worthless. If the 
Medici government had been unpopular in Florence, it might 
have been possible to organise a rebellion and to overthrow 
them by means of a parliament. But there was no wide- 
spread discontent in the city, and the Pazzi had no strong 
following among either the lower or the wealthy classes. It 
was decided, therefore, to kill Lorenzo and his brother 
Giuliano, and to trust to the resultant confusion and foreign 
intervention. A number of hired mercenaries, headed by 
Giovanni Battista da Montesecco, were engaged to carry out 
the two immediate objects — the murder of the brothers and 
the seizure of the magistrates. It says much for the fidelity 

306 European History, 1273- 1494 

of the plotters that no one was found to betray the design, in 
spite of the discouragement caused by unavoidable delays. 

The chief difficulty arose from the necessity of assassi- 
nating Lorenzo and Giuliano at the same moment, for fear 
that one might receive warning from the fate of the other. 
And unless both were removed, the plot would end in 
failure. At last the desired opportunity was offered by 
a banquet which the Medici gave in honour of Cardinal 
Raffaelle Riario, a great-nephew of the Pope. But Giuliano 
was too unwell to attend, and the time and place had to be 
altered. On Sunday, April 26, 1478, the two brothers were 
to be present at divine service in the cathedral, and the 
elevation of the host was to be the signal to the assassins. 
This gave rise to an unexpected difficulty. Montesecco, who 
had undertaken to slay Lorenzo, refused to commit sacrilege 
by shedding blood in a church, and two priests were chosen 
to take his place. But the priests, though they did not share 
the scruples, also lacked the strength and skill of the soldier. 
As the little altar bell tinkled, Giuliano was struck down, 
and Francesco Pazzi dealt the final deathblow. But Lorenzo 
was only wounded in the shoulder, and in the confused scuffle 
which followed he succeeded in escaping to the sacristy, 
where his friends closed the bronze doors in the face of the 
murderers. Elsewhere the conspirators were equally unsuc- 
cessful. Archbishop Salviati, who had gone to the Palazzo 
to superintend the seizure of the gonfalonier and priors, 
excited suspicion by his obvious agitation, and was seized 
with several of his followers. Jacopo Pazzi headed a pro- 
cession through the streets with shouts of ' Liberty,' but the 
people raised the counter-cry of 'Palle ! Palle ! ' in favour of 
the Medici, and the leaders of the demonstration were carried 
by the mob to the Palazzo. On the arrival of the news that 
Giuliano de' Medici was dead, Francesco Pazzi, the arch- 
bishop of Pisa, and several other prisoners were promptly 
hanged from the windows. Vindictive severity was shown 
to the Pazzi and their allies. Guglielmo Pazzi, who had 

Florence under the Medici 307 

married Lorenzo's sister, was the only member of the family 
who escaped. The two priests who had taken refuge in a 
monastery were dragged from their sanctuary by the mob 
and barbarously murdered. Montesecco had left Florence, 
but he was captured, and after giving evidence which im- 
plicated the Pope in the conspiracy, was executed. One of 
the murderers succeeded in reaching Constantinople, but 
even there the vengeance of the Medici was able to reach 
him. He was handed over by Mohammed II., and brought 
back to Florence, where in 1479 he shared the fate of his 

Within Florence all danger was at an end. The cowardly 
nature of the attack rallied public opinion to the Medici ; and 
the death of a brother, who had hitherto enjoyed the larger 
share of popular favour, served to exalt the survivor and to 
remove from his way a possible rival. The fate of the con- 
spirators was a striking object-lesson to future malcontents. 
But Lorenzo's signal triumph only exasperated the foreign 
enemies whom his reckless policy had alienated. Wa rwith 
He had broken up the triple alliance, in which Naples and 
Florence served as a link between Milan and the Pa P ac y- 
Naples, and had divided Italy into a northern and a southern 
league. These were now brought into collision by the failure 
of the Pazzi conspiracy. Both Sixtus iv. and Ferrante of 
Naples had good reasons for desiring the overthrow of 
Lorenzo, and these reasons were multiplied now that success 
had made him more formidable. The Pope, urged on by 
Girolamo Riario, and infuriated by the execution of an arch- 
bishop and the murder of priests, called upon the Florentines 
to banish Lorenzo, who was to be made the scapegoat for 
the crime of his opponents. The citizens refused to give up 
their leader, and published the confession of Montesecco. 
Sixtus laid the city under an interdict, and prepared for war. 
The papal troops under Federigo da Montefeltro and a 
Neapolitan army under Alfonso of Calabria marched into 
southern Tuscany, where the adhesion of Siena gave the 

308 European History ',1273-1494 

invaders a convenient base of operations. Florence appealed 
to her allies, and obtained assistance from Milan under Gian 
Jacopo Trivulzio, and from Venice under Galeotto Pico of 
Mirandola. Ercole d'Este was appointed commander-in-chief 
for the republic. Great hopes were also entertained of the 
intervention of France, and Louis xi. despatched Philippe 
de Commines to Italy to try what diplomacy could effect in 
favour of Lorenzo de' Medici. 

In 1478 Florence made a creditable resistance against 
superior forces. The fortification of Poggio Imperiale blocked 
campaigns of the Val d'Elsa, the most vulnerable approach to 
1478 and 1479. t h e city; and when the disappointed invaders 
turned eastwards to the valley of the Chiana, they had 
only completed the preliminary operation of taking Monte 
San Savino when winter put an end to operations. But 
in the campaign of 1479 fortune turned decisively against 
the Florentines. A revolution in Milan, which was dexterously 
organised by Ferrante, not only compelled the withdrawal of 
the Milanese troops ; but by substituting the rule of Ludovico 
Sforza for that of Bona of Savoy, detached Milan for a time 
from the Florentine alliance. The Turkish attack on Scutari, 
which reduced Venice to such straits that it was necessary to 
make the peace of Constantinople, and to refrain from any 
vigorous action in Italy, was also attributed by contemporary 
suspicion to the wily suggestions of the Neapolitan king. 
Worst of all, France would not take action. A few hundred 
French lances would have been worth far more than the 
threat of a general council which the Pope knew would not 
be carried out. Florence found herself isolated and exposed 
to a crushing attack. The plague broke out within the walls, 
Poggio Imperiale was stormed, and nothing but the ponderous 
tactics of a mercenary army saved the city from the necessity 
of an ignominious surrender. 

Lorenzo de' Medici was in a very difficult position. In a 
sense the city was enduring these sufferings and risks on his 
behalf, and the loyalty of the citizens might give way under 

Florence under the Medici 309 

an intolerable strain. He found a way out of the dilemma by 
an enterprise which his adherents and apologists have agreed 
to consider heroic. In December 1479 he set Lorenzo go— 
out on an embassy to Naples. The fate of Jacopo to Na P le »- 
Piccinino was sufficiently recent to convince people that it 
was dangerous to trust to the good faith of Ferrante, yet it 
is difficult to believe that Lorenzo undertook the journey 
without some assurance that there was less risk in it than 
appeared on the surface. After all, Ferrante had originally 
been the cordial friend of Lorenzo ; and although he had since 
then taken offence, he might be appeased by a renewal of the 
old understanding. Events had proved that it was not worth 
while to alienate Naples in order to establish better relations 
with Venice, and Lorenzo was quite willing to do penance 
for his blunder. And the alliance between Naples and the 
Pope did not rest upon very substantial foundations. 
Lorenzo could point out that Sixtus only cared for the 
aggrandisement of his nephew, that he was already preparing 
to expel the Ordelaffii from Forli in order to give a duchy to 
Girolamo, and that a strong secular power in the papal states 
was by no means likely to benefit Naples. There was an 
ultimate argument in the relations of the Medici with France. 
The revival of the Angevin claim was a perpetual nightmare 
to Ferrante and his son, and it might well prove that the 
house of Aragon would find in a Florentine alliance a sub- 
stantial bulwark to their throne. 

At all events, whether hazardous or not, the enterprise was 
successful. Lorenzo returned to Florence in 1480 conclusion of 
with a treaty of peace. It was not, of course, a peace » I48 °' 
very glorious agreement : the southern districts of Florentine 
territory were ceded to Siena, the allies in Romagna were left 
at the mercy of the Pope, and there was no provision for 
the restoration of the fortress of Sarzana, which had been 
seized during the war by the Fregosi of Genoa. But anything 
was better than the continuance of the war, and Lorenzo was 
hailed as the saviour of the state. It is true that there was a 

310 European History, 1273- 1494 

momentary reaction, when it was found that the Neapolitan 
forces were in no hurry to quit Tuscany, and that Alfonso 
was apparently taking advantage of party feuds in Siena to 
maintain a permanent foothold in the province. But the 
Turks intervened to checkmate any such design, and the 
occupation of Otranto compelled Alfonso and his troops to 
retire for the defence of their own territory. Even the 
obstinate Pope was forced to give way by the danger from 
the infidel. Sixtus ceased to insist that Lorenzo should 
make another more humiliating, and perhaps more perilous 
journey to Rome, and withdrew the interdict which he had 
launched against Florence for venturing to punish ecclesiastics 
for a flagrant crime. 

The conspirators had failed, and foreign enemies had failed, 
to overthrow the Medici, and their failure necessarily strength- 
Constitutional enec * ^ e dynasty against which these strenuous 
changes in attacks had been directed. In 1480 Lorenzo 
I48 °* was able to carry through vital changes in the 

constitution which for the rest of his life secured his authority 
against serious attack. It is noteworthy that no use was 
made of the parliament, as on previous occasions, when 
revolutionary decrees had to be enacted. The proposals 
were made by the signoria and carried in the ordinary way 
through the three councils. A constituent body of thirty was 
nominated by the signory. These were to appoint a 'greater 
council ' of two hundred and ten members, afterwards enlarged 
to two hundred and fifty-eight, who were to act as a temporary 
balia, having power to legislate and to control the filling of 
the bags with the names of suitable candidates for office. In 
order to secure a wide distribution of influence, no family, 
except two specially named, was to have more than three 
members on the council. By a far more important provision 
the thirty were to nominate another forty, and with them 
were to constitute a permanent Council or Senate, known as 
the Seventy. The Seventy held office for life, and filled 
vacancies by co-optation. From among them were to be 

Florence under the Medici 3 1 1 

chosen the two important executive committees — the Otto di 
Pratica, who took the place of the occasional committees of 
eight or ten whom it had been usual to appoint in time of 
war, and the Otto di Ba/ia, who superintended the police of 
the city. The institution of the Seventy did not abolish any 
of the old magistracies and councils j these still continued as 
a means of rewarding supporters and flattering men's love of 
importance. But it placed side by side with them what 
Florence had not for a long time possessed, a permanent 
machinery of government, and thus supplied the stability, the 
want of which had been the chief cause which raised the 
Medici to their anomalous and ill-defined position in the 
state. It was inevitable that the Seventy, with its two stand 
ing committees, should gradually draw into its hands the real 
power which could never be effectually employed by officials 
who changed every two months. 

The troubles of the last three years had taught Lorenzo a 
lesson which he never forgot. The prompt punishment which 
followed his youthful errors in statecraft had been Lorenzo's 
an invaluable training to him. For the next !»*«• years, 
twelve years the internal history of Florence is absolutely 
uneventful, a fact which is itself the best evidence of the 
capacity of its ruler. Freed from the fear of domestic oppo- 
sition, Lorenzo could concentrate his attention on external 
affairs, and he became the foremost statesman in Italy. 
Reverting to the sound traditions which his grandfather had 
handed down, he maintained an alliance with Naples on the 
one side, and with Milan on the other, and was thus enabled 
to check the aggressive tendencies of Venice and the papacy, 
and at the same time to avert the danger of foreign interven- 
tion. In the war of Ferrara (1482-84) he was an active member 
of the coalition which saved the house of Este from annihila- 
tion, though he was chagrined that the interested defection 
of Ludovico Sforza enabled Venice not only to escape well- 
deserved punishment, but also to retain the polesina of 
Rovigo. In 1485 a more serious difficulty arose when the 

312 European History \ 1 27 3 - 1 494 

Neapolitan rebels, backed up by Innocent vin., endeavoured 
to revive the Angevin claims. Florence had no love for the 
house of Aragon, and was closely connected by many ties 
with France. Fortunately, the appeal was made to Rene* of 
Lorraine instead of to Charles vin., and so Lorenzo could 
support the cause of Ferrante without any overt breach of the 
French alliance. And while engaged in these questions of 
high policy, Lorenzo never lost sight of the immediate 
interests of Florence. He took advantage of party feuds in 
Siena to procure the restoration of most of the territories 
which had been ceded in 1480. And he not only recovered 
Sarzana from Genoa, but he added to it the neighbouring 
fortresses of Pietrasanta and Sarzanella, thus giving to 
Florence a strong frontier on the ridge of the Apennines, 
which, if properly garrisoned, would have enabled the republic 
to check the invasion of Charles vin. 

In Lorenzo's last years a new and momentous political pro- 
blem was created by the growing alienation between Naples 
importance of anc * Milan. Ludovico Sforza could not carry out his 
Lorenzo's designs upon his nephew's duchy without incur- 
ring the hostility of Ferrante and Alfonso ; and 
upon Florence, as the middle state of the league, devolved 
the responsibility of mediating between her two allies. It 
was a task which required all Lorenzo's tact, experience, and 
patience, and it may be doubted whether even he could have 
ultimately succeeded in averting a collision. It is just possible, 
however, that consummate prudence on the part of Florence 
might have prevented French intervention in Italy, and in 
that case the whole course of European history might have 
been altered. But in 1492, when the fate of Italy was 
trembling in the balance, Lorenzo died; and his death at 
this critical moment must be ranked with those other 
events — the discovery of America, the conquest of Granada, 
and the election of Alexander vi. — which make 1492 
one of the most memorable years in the history of 

Florence under the Medici 313 

Enough has been said of the Florentine constitution to 
show that the power of the Medici did not rest upon very 
solid foundations. They had no military force Recklessness 
behind them; none of the ordinary securities of Piero de* 
on which a despotism must rely for its per- 
manence. They ruled, partly because they supplied an 
element of stability, which the civic constitution notoriously 
lacked, partly because they maintained the credit and the 
influence of the state in Italy and in Europe, but mainly 
because they had managed to conciliate the interests and the 
allegiance of a majority of the citizens. But if the Florentines 
once felt that their own interests and the security of the 
republic were endangered by the ascendency of the Medici, 
that ascendency must inevitably fall. And this was precisely 
the impression which Piero, Lorenzo's eldest son, set himself 
to produce. Discarding all pretence of civic equality, he 
indulged in the airs and pretensions of a prince born in the 
purple. And while his haughtiness disgusted the mass of the 
citizens, he made no effort to retain the support of the pro- 
minent families with whom his father had lived on familiar 
terms. But his most fatal blunder was in foreign relations. 
His mother was an Orsini, and his wife was an Orsini, and 
under the influence of his foreign relatives he abandoned the 
mediating position of Lorenzo, and allied himself uncon- 
ditionally with the rulers of Naples. This action had a double 
result. It completed the exasperation of the Florentines, 
who had never loved the Neapolitan alliance even when their 
trust in the wisdom of Cosimo or Lorenzo had convinced 
them that it was to their interest to adhere to it. And it 
drove Ludovico Sforza into that desperate appeal to France 
which was the immediate cause of Charles viii.'s invasion. 
When the French came, Piero showed himself to be pusil- 
lanimous as well as incompetent. He took no steps to hold 
the defensible passes of the Apennines against the invaders; 
and when they had reached Pisa, he sought to disarm their 
hostility by a more ruinous surrender than the most extreme 

3M European History \ 1273- 1494 

supporter of a French alliance would have advocated. The 
patience of the citizens was exhausted ; and Piero's flight was 
followed by the expulsion of his family and the restoration 
for a few troubled years of republican independence in 



Minority of Charles vi.— The princes of the lilies — Risings in Paris- 
Intervention in Flanders— Battle of Roosebek and death of Philip 
van Artevelde— Rule of the Marmousets— Insanity of Charles vi.— 
Rivalry for the government— Philip the Bold of Burgundy — Louis of 
Orleans— John the Fearless— Murder of Orleans— Outbreak of civil 
war — The Cabochiens in Paris — Victory of the Armagnacs in 1413— 
Henry V. invades France — Battle of Agincourt — Armagnacs retain 
their ascendency in France — English successes in Normandy — Bur- 
gundians seize Paris— Murder of John the Fearless— Treaty of 
Troyes — War in Northern France — Deaths of Henry v. and Charles 
vi.— John of Bedford and Charles vii.— Divided allegiance of France 
—Humphrey of Gloucester and Jacqueline of Hainault — Quarrels at 
the court of Charles Vii.— Philip the Good acquires territories in the 
Netherlands — Siege of Orleans — Successes of Jeanne Dare — Her 
capture and death — Character of the War — Quarrel of Bedford and 
Burgundy — Treaty of Arras and death of Bedford. 

The death of Charles v. in 1380 ushered in one of the most 
disastrous periods in the history of France. The young 
Charles vi. was only eleven years of age, and the Minority of 
government fell into the hands of his uncles, the Charles VL 
dukes of Anjou, Berri, and Burgundy, and their brother-in- 
law, the duke of Bourbon. These men represented the new 
class of royal nobles, or princes of the lilies, and it was soon 
evident that their interests were those of their caste, and not 
those of the monarchy with which they were connected by 
blood. Their conduct was characterised by the same selfish 
love of independence as had been displayed by the older 
feudal nobles, whose lands had fallen to them by inheritance, 

316 European History, 1273- 1494 

marriage, or royal grant. It was a momentous fact for France 
1 hat the power of the crown was wielded just at this time by 
men who desired not to advance that power, but merely to 
abuse it for their own profit and that of their fellow-nobles. 
Feudalism Everywhere feudalism was fighting a final and 
and its desperate struggle to maintain itself against the 

forces which were destined to effect its overthrow. 
In Germany the Swabian towns were engaged in war with the 
nobles, and the Swiss were preparing for the struggle in which 
they won their great victory of Sempach. In England social 
discontent was encouraged and organised by the teaching of 
Lollard priests, and the year 1381 witnessed the famous 
upheaval which is usually associated with the picturesque 
episode of the Kentish leader, Wat Tyler. In Flanders the 
citizens of Ghent were heading a rebellion against their count, 
Lewis de Male ; and though the latter succeeded in detaching 
Bruges from the league of towns, he found the militia of 
Ghent more than a match for his feudal levies, and was com- 
pelled to appeal for assistance to his suzerain, the French 
king. It is important to remember that these movements 
were connected by more than the accident of occurring at the 
same time. News travelled more rapidly in the fourteenth 
century than it had done in earlier times, and a conscious- 
ness of common class interests was beginning to unite men 
of different countries, as common religious interests united 
them two centuries later. Events in Germany and England, 
and still more events in Flanders, influenced opinion and 
action in France. The burghers of Paris and other towns 
had not forgotten their temporary triumphs in 1356 and 1357, 
and in 1380 the general unrest in western Europe gave them 
a new stimulus to action just at a time when the change 
of government made their grievances more intolerable. 

Even under Charles v. the burden of taxation had excited 
Risings in indignant murmuring, and on his deathbed the 
Paris. w [ se k m g h ac j promised that the recent imposts 

on the sale of commodities should be abolished. But Charles's 

Burgundtans and Armagnacs in France 317 

brothers needed money for their own purposes ; and the eldest, 
Louis of Anjou, was so greedy, that he stole the crown jewels 
and the treasure which Charles had amassed for his son. 
An order was issued that the taxes should be collected in 
spite of the promised relief. Paris rose in revolt, and an 
ordinance was extorted from the terrified regents that all 
taxes imposed since the reign of Philip iv. should be with- 
drawn. Peace was purchased for a year by this concession ; 
but at the beginning of 1382, while the regents were engaged 
in suppressing a rising in Rouen, an attempt was again made 
to collect the tax on sales. The mob rose in arms, and their 
most common weapon gave them the name of Maillotins, 
or the hammerers. The streets were barricaded, and again 
the government yielded. In May 1382 an amnesty was pro- 
mised to the rebels, who showed their gratitude by a civic 
gift of a hundred thousand francs. 

This treaty was the last act of the duke of Anjou, who had 
hitherto been the guiding spirit in the regency. His one aim 
had been to collect funds for an expedition to Italy, and in 
this year he set out for Naples to enforce his claim against 
Charles of Durazzo (see p. 154). His departure left the chief 
power in the hands of Philip of Burgundy, who had bought 
off his elder and incapable brother, the duke of Berri, by 
handing over to him the wealthy province of Languedoc. 
Hitherto the French Government had refused to give any 
assistance to the count of Flanders, who was reduced to 
great straits by a victory of the Gantois outside intervention 
the walls of Bruges (May 2, 1382). Philip van *n Flanders. 
Artevelde, the son of Jacob van Artevelde, was now more 
powerful than his father had ever been. He was not only 
supreme in Ghent, but he claimed to be ruwaert or regent 
of the whole of Flanders. After his victory he proceeded 
to lay siege to Oudenarde, the last stronghold of the court 
and the Flemish nobles. If the town were allowed to fall, 
the triumph of the burghers would be complete. There was 
sufficient evidence of intercourse between Ghent and Paris 

318 European History, 1273- 1494 

to excite the misgivings of a French ruler, and, moreover, the 
duke of Burgundy had a strong personal interest of his 
own in the matter. He was the son-in-law, and his wife was 
the heiress of Lewis de Male. It was imperative that he 
should strike a blow on behalf of an authority that might 
before long be his own, and the French nobles were eager 
to suppress a civic revolt which set such a bad example to 
their own vassals. A large feudal force was collected to 
advance to the relief of Oudenarde, and the young king 
himself, who was keenly interested in military affairs, accom- 
panied the army in person. Filled with the confidence 
Battle of inspired by their recent victory, the Flemings 
Roosebek. quitted their strong position and advanced to 
attack a stronger and better-armed force than their own. 
On the field of Roosebek they were enveloped by the 
converging wings of the French army, and were almost 
annihilated. The corpse of Philip van Artevelde was found 
at the bottom of a heap of the slain. A prompt advance 
must have resulted in the capture of Ghent, but the French 
were satisfied with their success, and soon afterwards with- 
drew. The chief sufferers were not the defeated Flemings, 
but the Maillotins of Paris. The victorious army was irre- 
sistible on its return. Most of the leaders of the recent 
rebellion suffered death. The gates of the city were thrown 
down, and its municipal liberties were abolished. 

With the suppression of the bourgeoisie all opposition to 
the regents seemed to be at an end. But in 1388 occurred 
a dramatic revolution which is a strange parallel to contem- 
Ruieofthe porary events in England. Charles vi. declared 
Marmousets. himself to be of age, dismissed his uncles to 
their estates, and intrusted the Government to men who 
had been trained in the service of his father. For the 
next four years these Marmousets or parvenus, as the nobles 
scornfully called them, ruled with equal capacity and modera- 
tion. Suddenly, in 1392, came another extraordinary change 
in the course of events. One of the ablest of the royal 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in Frmnce 319 

ministers was the Constable, Olivier de Clisson, a follower 
and fellow-countryman of Bertrand du Gueslin. An attempt 
was made to assassinate him in the streets of Paris, and the 
would-be murderers sought refuge with the duke of Brittany, 
who had a quarrel of his own with the Constable. Charles vi. 
was furious, and led an army towards Brittany to insanity of 
exact vengeance. But his health was already Charles vi. 
undermined by precocious debauchery and the premature 
possession of power. On the journey he became so violently 
insane that he had to be kept in forcible restraint. He lived 
for thirty years after this, but never recovered the complete 
control of his faculties, though he had intervals of com- 
parative lucidity. As a rule he was worst in the hot weather 
of summer and autumn, and recovered to some extent in the 
colder months of winter and early spring. It would probably 
have been better for France if his insanity had been com- 
plete and permanent, as in that case it would have been 
necessary to make regular provision for the regency. As it 
was, the government was still carried on in the king's name ; 
but it was notorious that even when he was at his best he 
had lost all strength of will, and was the obedient slave of 
whoever had control of his person at the time. These con- 
ditions led to that struggle for the exercise of power which 
brought such innumerable woes to France in the next half 

The duke of Burgundy was with the king at the time of 
the seizure, and took prompt advantage of it to recover the 
authority which he had been compelled to relin- origin of 
quish four years before. By so doing he excited P art y feuds - 
the bitter animosity of Louis of Orleans, the king's younger 
brother, who clamoured that he was ousted from his proper 
position by his uncle. From this rivalry arose in the course 
of time the famous factions of Burgundians and Armagnacs, 
whose quarrels distracted France and rendered the country 
an easy prey to the foreign invaders. It would be useless 
and wearisome to trace in detail the frequent fluctuations of 

320 European History, 1 273- 1494 

success and failure, but it is important to form a clear idea 
of the position of the two antagonists, and of the interests 
which became involved in their disputes. 

Philip the Bold or the Rash (le Rardi) was the youngest 
and favourite son of King John, and had been taken prisoner 
Philip of with his father at Poitiers. To reward his bravery 
Burgundy. an( j devotion John gave him the duchy of Bur- 
gundy when it fell in to the Crown in 1361 on the death 
of Philip de Rouvre. But the greatness of the house was 
mainly due to a lucky marriage, Charles v. procured for his 
brother the hand of Margaret, the only child of Lewis de 
Male, count of Flanders, Artois, Nevers, Rethel, and Bur- 
gundy. When Lewis died, in 1383, these territories came 
through his wife to Philip, who became at once one of the 
wealthiest and most powerful princes in Europe. The object 
of Charles v. in promoting this marriage had been to connect 
these fiefs, and especially Flanders, more closely with France. 
The ultimate result was precisely the reverse; the connec- 
tion of Burgundy with France was weakened. Commercial 
interests tended to sever Flanders from France and to attach 
it to England (see p. 71). These interests proved stronger 
than feudal and family ties. Instead of Flanders following 
Burgundy, Burgundy followed Flanders. Thus, although 
the duke of Burgundy was the first peer of France, and as 
count of Flanders was doubly a peer, yet he found himself 
more and more detached from France, and impelled to play 
the part of a foreign and independent prince. It is im- 
portant to remember that part of Flanders and Franche 
Comte, or the county of Burgundy, were imperial fiefs, and 
had no legal connection with France. As time went on this 
non-French element in the position of the house of Bur- 
gundy was destined to be greatly extended. In 1385 an 
important double marriage was concluded with the Wittels- 
bach count of Holland, Hainault, and Zealand, the son of 
Lewis the Bavarian (see p. 108). The son of Count Albert, 
afterwards William vi. (1 404-141 7), was to marry Philip's 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 321 

daughter, Margaret ; while Philip's eldest son, John of Nevers, 
was to marry Albert's daughter, another Margaret. It was 
to strengthen this alliance, which two generations later 
brought these Wittelsbach possessions to the house of 
Burgundy, that Philip negotiated the marriage of Charles 
vi. to a princess of another branch of the Wittelsbach 
house, Isabel of Bavaria — a marriage that was fraught with 
anything but blessing to France. Another imperial fief, 
Brabant, which was held by the aunt of Philip's wife, passed 
in 1406 to his second son, Antony, and ultimately to the 
main Burgundian branch. This gradual absorption of 
adjacent provinces by the Valois dukes gave to what came 
to be known as the Netherlands, or the Low Countries, their 
first semblance of political unity. 

The young Louis of Orleans was, in territorial power and 
prospects, quite insignificant by the side of his uncle and 
rival. His great ambition was to redress this Louis of 
obvious inequality. At every opportunity he o^ 1 "* 118 - 
induced his brother to alienate domain-lands to him in spite 
of the protests of the Marmousets. By these grants and by 
purchase he obtained the duchy of Orleans, which Charles 
v. had promised should never be severed from the Crown, 
Perigord, a part of Angoumois, and the counties of Valois, 
Dreux, and Blois. His marriage in 1386 with Valentina 
Visconti, daughter of Gian Galeazzo, which gave to his 
descendants a claim upon Milan in later times, brought to 
him a million francs as dowry, but in the way of territory 
only the town of Asti in Lombardy, and the county of Vertus 
in Champagne. Louis even competed with his uncle for 
territories in the Netherlands, and in 1401 he agreed to 
purchase Luxemburg from Wenzel. But this proved a com- 
plete fiasco, and Luxemburg was ultimately absorbed in the 
Burgundian dominions. One discreditable advantage in the 
struggle was gained by the duke of Orleans. He became 
the paramour of the queen, Isabella of Bavaria, and by 
this means he not only secured her support, but also the 


322 European History, 1273- 1494 

influence which she still retained over her unhappy 

Early in the fifteenth century changes took place in the 
personages of the drama, though its action was only slightly 
changed by them. Philip the Bold died in 1404, leaving three 
sons. The second son, Antony of Rethel, succeeded his 
great-aunt in the duchy of Brabant and Limburg, and 
married Elizabeth of Luxemburg, a grand-daughter of the 
Emperor Charles iv. The youngest son, Philip, received 
only the county of Nevers. With the exception of Nevers 
John the and Rethel, the whole magnificent inheritance 
Fearless. f philip and Margaret passed to their eldest 
son, John, who also succeeded to the position of protagonist 
in the party strife in France. John had been taken prisoner 
by the Turks at the famous battle of Nicopolis (1396), and 
the reckless courage which he displayed on that occasion 
gained for him the name of the Fearless (Jean sans Peur). 
He displayed the same impulsiveness in politics as in the 
field, and this led him into criminal blunders, and ultimately 
to a violent death. Like all politicians of the time, he sought 
to use marriage as a means of strengthening his position. 
His eldest daughter was married to the duke of Guienne or 
dauphin, and the king's second son, John of Touraine, was 
betrothed to the daughter of his brother-in-law, William vi. 
of Holland. 

In 1407 Louis of Orleans was assassinated in Paris ; and 
after some hesitation, John the Fearless avowed himself to be 
Murder of the instigator of the murder, and put forward 
Orleans. arguments to justify it. Instead of putting an 
end to the quarrel, this act proved the occasion for civil 
war. The sons of the duke of Orleans deemed it a sacred 
duty to avenge their father's death, and they were encouraged 
by the support of all opponents of Burgundy. As they were 
young and inexperienced, the practical leadership of the 
party was undertaken by Bernard of Armagnac, the father- 
in-law of the young Charles of Orleans, and himself the 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 323 

son-in-law of the duke of Berri, the only surviving uncle of 
the king. From him the party derived the name by which 
it is usually known both to contemporaries and to history. 

The strife of parties had its origin in a purely personal 
rivalry for power, but it gradually came to absorb all the 
elements of social, political, and ecclesiastical Burgund i ans 
conflict in France. Louis of Orleans was the andArma- 
champion of the past, of feudal independence gnac8 - 
and privileges. His party, especially after his death, in- 
cluded most of the noble families of France. Louis had 
been the supporter of Richard 11. against Henry iv., of 
Wenzel against his rival the Elector Palatine Rupert, of the 
Avignon popes against the policy of neutrality in the great 
schism. The Burgundians were forced to espouse the 
opposite side in these disputes. They clamoured for financial 
economy and encouraged the growth of municipal liberties. 
Flemish interests impelled them to maintain a good under- 
standing with Henry iv. after his successful usurpation. In 
the matter of the schism they urged the ' way of cession,' and 
thus gained the support of the University of Paris. Orleans 
had alienated this powerful corporation by encouraging the rival 
schools of Orleans, Montpellier, and Toulouse. The Univer- 
sity of Paris showed such devotion to the Burgundian cause 
that Jean Petit, one of the leaders of the Sorbonne, mar- 
shalled all the hackneyed arguments in favour of tyrannicide 
in order to justify the murder of Orleans. But this went too 
far for doctors of more tender conscience, and at Constance 
Jean Gerson, the chancellor of the University, pressed for the 
condemnation of Jean Petit's discourse, and thereby incurred 
the bitter enmity of John the Fearless (see p. 218). The 
great strength of the Burgundians lay in the enthusiastic 
support of the Parisians ; the duke at once rewarded and con- 
ciliated their support by restoring in 1409 the municipal 
institutions which had been abolished in 1383. 

The war has also a geographical as well as a social signifi- 
cance. The west and south were Armagnac, while the north 

324 European History, 1273- 1494 

and east of France were Burgundian. This opposition was 
of long standing, and rested upon a substantial difference of 
race. In the south-west the strongest element of the popula- 
tion was the Romanised Celts; whereas in the north-east the 
Teutonic or Frankish race preponderated. For a long time, 
especially since the Albigensian crusades, the south had been 
reduced to subservience by the north, and in the Armagnac 
party it strove to shake off some of the fetters that had been 
imposed upon it. 

In thus roughly estimating the significance of the civil 
strife in France, it is important to avoid being too precise and 
dogmatic. It was not so much a struggle of principles as a 
personal quarrel, in which certain principles became involved. 
It is to some extent misleading to speak of the Armagnacs 
as an aristocratic, and the Burgundians as a popular or 
bourgeois party. The parties did not set out with definite 
character and policy; but circumstances and momentary 
exigencies forced them to seek allies where they could, and 
these allies could only be gained by at least a professed 
devotion to their interests. The age also is full of contradic- 
tions, which make it the more difficult to draw definite 
distinctions. The dukes of Burgundy were the champions 
of municipal privilege in Paris ; in Flanders it was their first 
business to restrict the independence of the cities. Philip the 
Bold declaimed against the extravagance of the government 
when he was excluded from it, and promised the people relief 
from taxation. But he was personally extravagant, his rule 
was at least as expensive as that of his opponents, and he 
died so profoundly in debt that his widow had to undergo 
a ceremonial proof of bankruptcy in order to secure the 
inheritance of her children from the disappointed creditors. 
Again, Louis of Orleans is apparently the champion of a 
reactionary feudalism ; but in another aspect he is a disciple 
of the Renaissance, and a patron of the new learning that was 
to overthrow the essential ideas of mediaeval feudalism. In 
this, as in other respects, he may be instructively compared 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 325 

with an Englishman who was almost his contemporary, 
Humphrey of Gloucester. 

It was fortunate for France that in the early stages of the 
quarrel little danger was to be feared from England. The 
minority of Richard II. was disturbed at first by Relatlons 
the social discontent which led to the rising of with 
1 38 1, and afterwards by party and personal En e land 
jealousies which almost produced a great civil war. When 
Richard 11. at last took the reins of government into his own 
hands and effected a temporary pacification, he began to 
prepare for his dramatic revenge upon his opponents, and for 
that attempt to establish a despotic power which resulted in 
his deposition. The result was that during his reign the war 
with France languished. Truces were frequently made and 
prolonged, and during the interval of nominal hostility no 
operations of importance were undertaken on either side. In 
1396 Richard 11. actually paid a visit to Paris, and was 
betrothed to Isabella, daughter of Charles vi. The revolu- 
tion of 1399, which gave the English crown to Henry iv., 
seemed likely to bring about a resumption of hostilities, 
especially when Henry married the dowager duchess of 
Brittany, and thus renewed that connection with the house 
of Montfort which had in the past given the English an easy 
entry into France. But for some years Henry iv. sat but 
insecurely upon his throne, and the struggle against succes- 
sive rebellions left him little time or inclination for an 
aggressive foreign policy. It was not until French parties 
were led by their irreconcilable enmity to each other to 
invite English intervention that the prolonged suspension of 
hostilities between the two countries came to an end. 

The murder of the duke of Orleans exasperated, but at the 
same time intimidated the other princes of France, and their 
terror was increased by the punishment which the duke of 
Burgundy inflicted in 1408 upon the citizens of Li£ge for a 
revolt against their bishop. In spite of the pitiful entreaties 
of the widowed Valentina, John the Fearless was allowed to 

326 European History, 1273- 1494 

retain supreme control of the government through his son-in- 
law the dauphin, who was now put forward to represent his 
father ; and the young duke of Orleans and his brother had 
to undergo the shame of a formal reconciliation with their 
father's murderer. It was not till 1410 that the first league 
civil war °^ P rmces was formed to overthrow the Burgun- 
breaks out dian ascendency. It included the dukes of Berri 
in 1410. an( j B ourDonj Louis 11. of Anjou, the titular king 

of Sicily, the sons of Louis of Orleans, and the counts of 
Clermont, Alencon, and Armagnac. The duke of Brittany, 
who had previously been the ally of Burgundy, also joined the 
league because a daughter of John the Fearless had married 
the count of Penthievre, on whom the claims of the rival house 
of Blois had devolved. It would take too long to trace the 
actual progress of the war or to enumerate the hollow truces and 
treaties by which it was occasionally interrupted. Neither party 
could claim any monopoly of patriotism, and both appealed 
successfully to England for assistance. In 141 1 aid was sent 
to the Burgundians, and in the next year to their opponents. 
This was not due, as has often been asserted, to a politic 
desire to prolong the civil war in France, but was the result of 
a change of parties in England. In 141 1, when the Burgundian 
alliance was concluded, the Prince of Wales and the Beauforts 
were in power. In January 14 12 their influence was under- 
mined by an obscure intrigue, Henry Beaufort resigned the 
chancellorship, and the Prince of Wales, who had incurred his 
father's displeasure, quitted the court. The government fell 
into the hands of Archbishop Arundel and Thomas of Clarence, 
Henry iv.'s second son, and they reversed the foreign policy 
of their predecessors. Clarence in person commanded the 
expedition, which was despatched to help the Armagnacs, but 
did little except ravage Normandy and part of Guienne. 

The chief interest in the struggle lay in the efforts of the 
Armagnacs to get possession of Paris, the stronghold of 
Burgundian influence. In 141 1 the princes advanced to 
besiege the city. The exigencies of the defence gave a 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 327 

temporary ascendency to the lower class of the citizens, who 
were the most enthusiastic partisans of Burgundy, and among 
them the lead was taken by the powerful guild TheCa bo- 
of butchers. One Caboche, a flayer, acquired an chiens in 
unenviable eminence which gave to his associates Pans - 
the name of Cabochiens. For two years they were all- 
powerful in the city, and their history is marked by one of 
those extraordinary contrasts which are more familiar in the 
history of France than in any other country. On the one 
hand, their rule was disgraced by the brutal atrocities of a 
Paris mob at its worst. On the other hand, there must have 
been among their leaders men of virtue and capacity, who 
saw clearly the administrative evils under which France was 
suffering. On May 25, 1413, was issued the famous Cabo- 
chian ordinance, containing 258 articles, which has been 
warmly praised by more than one eminent historian as a wise 
and far-seeing measure of reform. But the authors of the 
ordinance hardly acted in its spirit, and it was so short-lived 
that it has no practical importance. 

The horrors of Cabochian rule excited a strong reaction 
among the higher class of citizens, and the Armagnacs were 
enabled by their aid to enter Paris. The great Arma 
ordinance was revoked in September 1413, and victory in 
all offices were transferred to members of the I413 * 
victorious faction. The dauphin, who had quarrelled with 
his father-in-law, joined his former opponents, and this en- 
abled them to claim that they were governing in the king's 
name and interest. In 1414 the Armagnacs assumed the 
offensive, drove the duke of Burgundy from one town after 
another, and even invaded Artois. Before Arras a treaty 
was concluded which left Paris and the persons of the queen 
and the dauphin in the hands of the Armagnacs. John the 
Fearless, chagrined by his defeat, and excluded from all 
political influence, resumed those relations with the English 
to which he was impelled by Flemish interests. Henry v., 
who as Prince of Wales had shown himself disposed to aid 

328 European History, 1273- 1494 

the Burgundians in 141 1, was now on the throne. He was 
free from some of the difficulties which had made his father 
En Hsh pursue a peace policy, and the condition of 

invasion of France offered him an irresistible temptation to 
France. renew the war. In 141 5 he formally announced 

his intention of asserting his claim to the crown of France, and 
laid siege to Harfleur. The Armagnacs were by no means 
dismayed by the news. The militant instincts of an 
aristocracy were strong among them, and a victory over 
the English invaders would complete their triumph over the 
Burgundians. A feudal army was hastily collected under 
the constable d'Albret, and the offers of aid from Paris and 
other communes were haughtily rejected. The expected 
success was to be for the party, not for the nation. But 
the military ability of the nobles was not equal to their ex- 
clusiveness. A slight exertion would have relieved Harfleur, 
Fail of DUt the town was allowed to surrender on Sep- 

Harfleur. tember 22. This was a considerable gain to the 
English ; for Harfleur, though less defensible than Calais, was 
far better suited for aggressive purposes. It was the real 
key to Normandy, whereas the strength of Calais lay in its 
isolation. But the English army had suffered heavily during 
the siege, and prudence seemed to dictate that it should 
either return to England or spend the winter in Harfleur. 

Henry, however, trusting to the incapacity and disunion of 
his enemies, decided to lead his diminished army, not more 
tnan fifteen thousand at most, through a hostile country to 
Calais. The bridges on the Somme had been broken down, 
and the English made for the famous ford of Blanchetaque, 
where Edward ill, had effected his crossing before the battle 
of Crecy. A prisoner declared that the ford was guarded by 
six thousand troops, and the English turned southwards to 
find another crossing. One place after another was found 
to be impracticable, and the army had passed Nesle before 
they discovered some marshy shallows which gave them the 
desired passage. They thus escaped the trap into which they 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 329 

had fallen, but their march had brought them to the south 
of the French army, which in overwhelming numbers blocked 
the way to Calais. It was necessary to fight or perish. In the 
battle of Agincourt (October 25, 141 5) the muddy Battle of 
state of the ground, the reckless insubordination Agincourt. 
of the French nobles, and the skill of the archers gave the 
English an extraordinarily easy victory. The losses on the 
French side were enormously increased by a massacre of 
the prisoners, which Henry ordered when the appearance of 
some camp-followers was taken as the approach of a new 
army. Among the slain were the constable d'Albret, the 
duke of Alen^on, and the two brothers of John the Fearless, 
Antony of Brabant and Philip of Nevers. The duke him- 
self had refused to join his opponents, and his brothers only 
arrived in time to share the defeat. The most important of 
the prisoners whose lives had been spared were the young 
Charles of Orleans and the count of Richemont, brother of 
the duke of Brittany. As far as Henry v. was concerned, he 
gained no immediate advantage in France, except the ability 
to continue his retreat. He hastened to Calais, and there 
embarked for England. 

The Armagnacs had destined for themselves all the glory 
of the expected victory, and they had to endure all the shame 
of the defeat. The Parisians openly exulted at Continued 
the humiliation of their oppressors, and prepared party strife 
to welcome John the Fearless, who advanced as in France - 
far as Lagni on his way to the capital. But the duke had 
lost much of the energy of his younger days. Bernard of 
Armagnac, who had played no part in recent events, hurried 
up from the south and took prompt measure to suppress the 
Burgundian sympathies of the citizens. He only arrived just 
in time. The dauphin, worn out by debauchery of every 
kind, died on December 18, and the heir of the throne was 
now John of Touraine, who was the creature of the Burgundian 
party. If John the Fearless had succeeded in reaching Paris, 
his hold on the government would have been secure. But 

330 European History, 1273- 1494 

he had lost his opportunity, and retired after four months 
of absolute inactivity. His enemies called him in derision 
John of Lagni. 

In 14 1 6 there was no renewal of the English invasion, and 
the attention of Henry v. was fully occupied with diplomacy. 
Sigismund had quitted Constance with the professed inten- 
tion of putting an end to the international quarrels which 
impeded the work of the council. But his visits to France 
and to England failed to effect the desired result. Their 
chief result was to ally Sigismund with Henry v. and to 
bring about a better understanding between the latter and 
the duke of Burgundy, who had found it difficult to maintain 
any alliance with England after the death of his two brothers 
at Agincourt. Meanwhile Armagnac continued a reign of 
terror in Paris. The citizens were disarmed, the chains and 
barriers in the streets were removed, and a strict system of 
espionage enabled the government to detect and punish any 
attempt to rebel. The atrocities of the Cabochiens were 
equalled by their opponents, and without the excuse that 
could be offered for the brutal action of a mob. The one 
difficulty in Armagnac's way was the fact that the dauphin 
John was in the hands of the duke of Burgundy at Valen- 
ciennes. But in April 141 7 the dauphin died so opportunely 
that Armagnac was suspected of having brought it about. 
The only surviving prince, Charles, was the son-in-law of 
Louis 11. of Anjou, and had been brought up in bitter 
hostility to the Burgundians. The one influence over him 
that might stand in the way of Armagnac was that of his 
mother. In a lucid interval Charles vi. was induced to 
notice and resent his wife's notorious misconduct, and 
Isabel of Bavaria was sent into disguised captivity at Tours. 
Indignant at this insult, she forgot the quarrel of a lifetime, 
sought the alliance of John the Fearless, and escaped from 
Tours with his aid. This encouraged the Burgund ; ans to 
fresh exertions. The queen claimed to act as regent during 
her husband's ' occupation,' as it was euphemistically called. 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 331 

At Amiens she and the duke of Burgundy established a 
council and a parliament in opposition to those in Paris, 
which were 'subjected to the usurpers of the royal power.' 
The civil war was carried on in a series of petty combats over 
the northern provinces, in which each side was equally dis- 
credited by acts of the grossest brutality. 

The renewed outbreak of civil war encouraged Henry v. 
to enter Normandy again in 141 7. Little resistance was 
offered to him, except at Caen, and a truce with English in 
the duke of Brittany gave him a secure hold upon Normandy, 
north-western France. The rapid success of the foreign in- 
vasion gave rise to negotiations between the French factions, 
and a treaty was on the verge of conclusion in May 1418, 
when it was broken off by Armagnac and his brutal colleague, 
Tannegui du Chatel. This was more than the Parisians could 
endure ; the gates were opened to admit a body Burgundians 
of Burgundian cavalry, and the citizens rose with seize Paris, 
cries of 'Burgundy and peace.' Armagnac was discovered 
and slain, but the dauphin succeeded in escaping to Melun, 
where he was joined by Tannegui and other followers, who 
had made a bold but unsuccessful attempt to hold out in 
the Bastile. The revolution in Paris gave to the Burgundians 
the ascendency in the north, but the dauphin continued to 
call himself lieutenant-general for his father, and set up a 
council and a parliament in Poitiers. 

One result of the revolution was to impose the burden of 
national defence upon the duke of Burgundy. The Parisians, 
although Burgundian, had not ceased to be Frenchmen, and 
their clamour compelled the duke to take measures against 
the English. He escorted the insane king to take the ori- 
flamme from St. Denis, and he established a camp at Beauvais. 
But he did nothing to relieve Rouen, which was Fa n f 
offering a heroic resistance to Henry v., and the Rouen, 
town was forced to capitulate on January 19, 141 9. A 
systematic government was set up in Normandy as a de- 
pendency of the English crown. 

332 European History, 1273 -1494 

The news of the fall of Rouen roused the national spirit 
of France. The two parliaments of Paris and Poitiers corn- 
Negotiations Dmec ^ t0 demand internal peace in the face of 
between the the foreign foe. On May 14 a truce for three 
months was concluded. But the English suc- 
cesses continued, and the capture of Pontoise enabled them 
to threaten Paris. The pressure of imminent danger forced 
the rival factions into closer relations with each other, and 
it was agreed that a meeting should take place between the 
dauphin and John the Fearless for the final settlement of all 
differences. This was a great blow to the extreme Armagnacs, 
who dreaded the loss of power and the vengeance of Burgundy. 
Murder of Tannegui du Chatel and his associates deter- 
johnof mined by a desperate act to put an end to all 

urgun y. p r0S p e cts of pacification. The interview took 
place on September 10, 14 19, on the bridge at Montereau, 
and John the Fearless was treacherously assassinated by the 
dauphin's followers. Whether Charles himself was aware of 
the plot beforehand is open to question, but by continued 
association with the murderers he made himself an accomplice 
after the event. 

The murder of John the Fearless was a fatal event for 
France. It revived the unity of the Burgundian party, which 
Treaty of bad been rapidly breaking up, and for the moment 
Troyes, 1420. it subordinated all sentiment of nationality to 
the desire for revenge. The young duke Philip vowed that 
the dauphin, whom he regarded as his father's assassin, should 
never sit upon the throne of France. Isabel of Bavaria, who 
had never loved her youngest son, did not scruple to join the 
duke in a close alliance with the English. The treaty of 
Troyes (May 21, 1420) excluded the dauphin from the suc- 
cession, arranged that Henry v. should marry Katharine of 
France, that he and his descendants should be the heirs of 
Charles vi., and that Henry should be regent during the 
lifetime of his father-in-law. Normandy and all other English 
conquests were to be reunited to the French crown on Henry's 

Burgundians and A rmagnacs in France 333 

accession, and he swore to observe the laws and customs of 
France. Paris, already dominated by Burgundian partisans, 
and exposed to the danger of English attack from Pontoise, 
could make no resistance to an arrangement which proposed 
to subject France to an English dynasty. 

The treaty of Troyes was a treaty with one of the factions 
in France ; it was not a treaty with the French nation. In 
order to carry it out it was necessary to enforce War in 
the submission of the Armagnacs, who had the northern 
support of almost all the provinces south of the France - 
Loire, and also held a number of strong places north of that 
river. The reduction of the latter was the first task of the 
English and Burgundians. Some of them surrendered 
readily, but Melun held out for four months, and with its 
fall the campaign of 1420 ended. Henry v. returned to 
England, but was recalled by the news of a serious reverse. 
Thomas of Clarence, who had been left in command, was 
defeated and slain by a combined force of French and Scots 
at Bauge* in Anjou (March 23, 142 1), and a rising in favour 
of the dauphin took place in Picardy. Henry's return re- 
stored victory to the English arms. While Philip of Burgundy 
put down the malcontents in Picardy, the English laid siege 
to Meaux, the chief Armagnac stronghold in northern France. 
With its surrender (March 22, 1422) the supremacy of the 
allies to the north of the Loire seemed to be assured. A 
few adventurers, at the head of mercenary forces, remained 
to pillage the country, but there was no longer any centre of 
organised resistance to the English. Their army was pre- 
paring to cross the river when it was recalled by the news 
that Henry v. had died of dysentery, at the early Death s of 
age of thirty-four (August 31, 1422). Seven Henry v. and 
weeks later, the unfortunate Charles vi. was also Charles VI - 
carried to the grave, accompanied by the tears of his subjects, 
who remembered that if he had never ruled, so he had never 
oppressed them. None of his own family were present at 
the funeral, and the only mourner of princely rank was the 

334 European History, 127 3-1494 

Duke of Bedford, now regent of France for the infant Henry 
vi., who was solemnly proclaimed King of France and 

For several years after 1422 there were two kings of 
France — Henry vi., represented by his uncle Bedford, with 
Bedford and Paris as his capital; and Charles vn., a youth of 
Charles vii. twenty years of age, at Bourges. The position 
of the latter had been completely changed by the treaty of 
Troyes. He was no longer the mere head of an unscrupulous 
and discredited faction, but the leader of a national cause. 
This washed out the stain of the murder of Montereau. 
There was hardly a French nation as yet, otherwise Henry v. 
had never conquered Normandy, but there was certainly a 
sentiment of nationality. A duke of Burgundy, half of whose 
possessions lay outside France, might be comparatively free 
from such a sentiment, but his French subjects were not. 
From the very first the result of the struggle was certain. 
All the permanent influences were in favour of Charles and 
against England. Only two things were necessary to secure 
the victory of Charles vn. — the national sentiment must be 
kindled into a blaze, which was done by Jeanne Dare, and 
Burgundy must be detached from England. This was sooner 
or later inevitable, both from the natural jarring of interests 
and from the pressure brought to bear upon the duke by his 
own followers. Henry vi. wore the crown of France, partly 
by virtue of the Burgundian alliance, and partly because the 
feeling of national union had been overpowered for a time by 
domestic feuds and by the misery which they had brought to 
the country. Directly this double basis collapsed, the English 
power fell. That it lasted as long as it did was due to the 
difference between the respective leaders. John of Bedford 
was a great soldier and a great diplomatist ; there was no one 
on the French side who equalled him in either capacity. 
Charles vn. may have had scant justice dealt to him by 
historians, and his latest biographer would have us believe 
that he was a model of kingly virtues. But these virtues, 

Burgundians and Artnagnacs in France 335 

such as they were, were developed by adversity. At the time 
when he assumed the royal title, he was too young to have 
much experience of government, his training had been against 
him, and he had been fatally compromised by the criminal 
violence of his associates. He was not personally a coward, 
but he disliked war, and he disliked publicity. Two im- 
portant cities — Bourges and Poitiers — remained faithful to 
him, but he preferred the more congenial solitude of Loches 
and Chinon. He had excellent advisers. The council and 
parliament which he established at Poitiers comprised many 
of the ablest members of those institutions who had left Paris 
in 1 41 8. So far as it was possible to conduct a civil govern- 
ment during the war, it was conducted well. But against 
these civilian advisers must be set the influence of brutal 
adventurers, such as Tannegui du Chatel, whose services he 
could not dispense with, and whom he was too feeble to 
restrain. Their gradual disappearance enabled him at last 
to free himself from the Armagnac party, and to render con- 
spicuous services to France. But for the first seven years of 
his reign he had to contend with inferior instruments against 
superior force. 

Geographically, France was fairly evenly divided. Paris, 
with the He de France, Normandy, Picardy, Champagne, 
and all the Burgundian fiefs, together with Division of 
Western Guienne and Gascony, recognised France. 
Henry vi. Maine and Anjou were a battleground between 
parties. Their duke, Louis in., was absent in Italy, engaged 
in the effort to secure the succession in Naples. His mother 
— Yolande of Aragon — was the mother-in-law of Charles vn., 
and an influential personage at his court. Charles could 
count, in the first place, upon the provinces which he had 
held in fief before his father's death — Touraine, Dauphin^, 
Berri, and Poitou. Orleans, whose duke was still a prisoner 
in England, was loyal, and so were Auvergne, Lyons, Bourbon, 
Languedoc, and the eastern parts of Guienne and Gascony. 
The duke of Brittany was doubtful. He was intimately 

336 European History, 1273- 1494 

connected with both parties. He had married Charles vn.'s 
sister, but he was the nephew through his mother of the 
first duke of Burgundy, and that mother had been the second 
wife of Henry iv. of England. His family was under great 
obligations to England, but his subjects were, for the most 
part, averse to the English alliance ; and his brother — Arthur 
of Richemont — had been one of Henry v.'s prisoners at 
Agincourt. For the moment the attitude of John v. was 
decided by a foolish attempt on the part of the Armagnac 
leaders to excite a revolt in Brittany in favour of the count 
of Penthievre. This drove the duke, in 1423, to acknowledge 
Henry VI. and to make a treaty with the dukes of Bedford 
and Burgundy. At the same time, Bedford tried to strengthen 
the ties between Burgundy and England by marrying Philip's 
sister Anne. There were three provinces — Lorraine, Savoy, 
and Provence — which were not French, but for many years 
had been involved by their geography in French politics. 
Provence belonged to the duke of Anjou, and was certain, 
sooner or later, to support Charles vn. Amadeus vin. of 
Savoy was the uncle of the duke of Burgundy, but held a 
neutral position, and tried to play the part of mediator. 
Charles of Lorraine had been an ardent Burgundian partisan, 
and had been appointed constable in 14 18 by John the Fear- 
less. But since then he had been gained over by Yolande, 
and induced to marry his only daughter to her second son, 

The actual military operations were not, for some time, of 
first-rate importance. There was no campaign on a large 
Campaigns of scale, and only two battles which deserve mention. 
1423-04. a few places in the north, notably Guise and 

Ivry, held out for Charles VII., and Picardy was always ready 
to revolt. Important assistance was rendered by Scotland, the 
permanent ally of France against England. Buchan, a Scot, 
was appointed constable of France, and the earl of Douglas, 
who brought a number of adventurers, was created count of 
Touraine. In 1423 a mixed French and Scottish army was 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 337 

defeated by the English and Burgundians at Crevant. In 
1424 a more important engagement took place. The English 
had laid siege to Ivry, and a great effort was made to relieve 
the garrison. Bedford in person met the relieving army at 
Verneuil, and inflicted a crushing defeat upon them. Douglas, 
Buchan, and a number of French nobles were slain ; Maine 
was completely reduced, and the remaining fortresses in 
Picardy surrendered. 

At this juncture Bedford's progress was arrested, and his 
whole design was threatened with ruin by the action of his 
brother, Humphrey of Gloucester, whose reckless Gloucester 
selfishness nearly effected a complete rupture quarrels with 
with Burgundy. The dearest aim of Philip the urgun y ' 
Good was to absorb the dominions in the Netherlands of 
the two collateral branches of his house. 1 Holland, Hainault. 
and Zealand had now passed, by the death of William vi., 
to his only daughter, Jacqueline. Another of Philip's uncles, 
Antony of Brabant, had left two sons, John iv. and Philip. 
The duke of Burgundy had contrived to unite these two 
lines into one by marrying Jacqueline to John iv. of Brabant. 
But the marriage was inharmonious, Jacqueline fled from 
her husband, and appealed for aid to the duke of Gloucester. 
Philip was infuriated when he learned that Gloucester had 
actually married Jacqueline, having obtained a dispensation 
from the old anti-pope, Benedict xm. A prolonged and 
intricate quarrel followed. Gloucester claimed his wife's 
territories and defied Philip, who supported John of Brabant, 
to mortal combat. Bedford was in despair. He endeavoured 
to pacify Philip by ceding to him the Picard towns of Roye, 
Mondidier, and Peronne, and by allowing him to annex to 
Burgundy the counties of Auxerre and Macon. Fortunately, 
Gloucester was as changeable as he was rash and hot- 
tempered. He repudiated Jacqueline in order to marry 
Eleanor Cobham, and Philip the Good was free to settle 
matters with his cousin without being hampered by English 
1 See Appendix, Genealogical Table H. 

338 European History \ 1273- 1494 

intervention. But Gloucester continued to put difficulties 
in Bedford's way. He quarrelled so violently with his uncle, 
Henry Beaufort, that Bedford was compelled to return to 
England, where the task of peacemaker detained him from 
December 1425 till the spring of 1427. 

Meanwhile Philip of Burgundy had been nearly impelled 
by the conduct of Gloucester to desert England and come 
Quarrels at to terms with Charles vn. One difficulty in the 
the court of wa y was removed by the dismissal from the court 
of Tannegui du Chatel and the other accomplices 
of the assassination at Montereau. Philip had declared that 
he would never pardon the murderers of his father, and the 
negotiations with Burgundy enabled Yolande and the wiser 
advisers of Charles vn. to procure their expulsion. The 
office of constable was given to the count of Richemont, and 
this induced the duke of Brittany to acknowledge Charles. 
The latter could now claim to be no longer the champion 
of the Armagnacs, but a national king, and a reconciliation 
with Burgundy seemed to be the natural and inevitable result 
of the change. But the hopes of all patriotic Frenchmen 
were disappointed for a time by Charles's weakness of char- 
acter. In his youth he was always under the thumb of a 
favourite, and the favourite at this moment was Pierre de 
Giac. Giac's wife had been the mistress of John the 
Fearless, and she had been employed to induce him, in 
spite of warnings, to keep his appointment at Montereau. 
With such a record behind him, it was natural that Giac 
should do all in his power to thwart the negotiations with 
Burgundy. Richemont, who had just returned to Bourges 
from an unsuccessful campaign in Normandy, was furious 
at the frustration of a project on which the salvation of 
France depended. The favourite was seized at night, con- 
demned to a hasty trial, and drowned. A successor, who 
incurred the displeasure of the rugged constable, was assas- 
sinated. Charles vn. could not venture to punish those 
acts of violence, but he refused to pardon or trust their 

Burgundians and Artnagnacs in France 339 

instigator. As intimidation had failed, Richemont tried 
a new way to effect his object. He introduced a new 
favourite, George de la Tremouille, who proved the evil 
genius of the king and of France for the next six years. La 
Tremouille became all-powerful at court, but he turned 
against the patron to whom he owed his advancement. 
Richemont was banished from Bourges, and a small civil war 
broke out between his partisans and those of the favourite. 
The condition of France seemed more hopeless than ever. 
The reconciliation with Burgundy had failed ; and, to make 
matters worse, the duke of Brittany, left unaided to oppose 
the English, had made terms with them at the end of 1427 
and had become the vassal of Henry vi. 

Meanwhile Bedford had succeeded, by persistent diplomacy, 
in removing the difficulties that stood in his way. Henry 
Beaufort was gratified by being allowed to receive the 
cardinal's hat, which Henry v. had forbidden, and was induced 
to leave England in order to head a crusade against the 
Hussites in Bohemia. The quarrel between Gloucester and 
Burgundy was terminated by the former's marriage, and by 
the death in 1427 of Jacqueline's lawful husband, John of 
Brabant, whose duchy passed to his younger 
brother. Philip the Good might not be a very aggrandise" 
devoted ally, but no opposition was to be expected ment in the 
from him as long as he was allowed to swallow 
the Netherlandish provinces at will. His war with Jacqueline 
continued until she undertook to acknowledge him as her 
heir in Holland, Hainault, and Zealand, and to grant him the 
immediate administration of these provinces as her main- 
bourg. Luxemburg was in the hands of Elizabeth, widow of 
Philip's uncle, Antony of Brabant. She was no relation by 
blood to the house of Burgundy, and there were members of 
her own family to whom the duchy ought to have passed, 
but Philip succeeded in the end in securing possession of 
Luxemburg. Namur he purchased from its count. The only 
provinces in the Netherlands which were free from Burgundian 

340 European History, 1273- 1494 

domination were the duchy of Gelderland and some ecclesi- 
astical principalities, of which the most important was the 
bishopric of Lidge. 

Burgundy being thus pacified, Bedford was encouraged by 
the mingled folly and misfortunes of his opponents to make 
siege of new exertions in France. In 1428 he received 

Orleans. reinforcements under the earl of Salisbury, and 
a regular campaign was planned instead of the petty local 
war of partisans that had been carried on for the last four 
years. It was determined to lay siege to Orleans, which was 
situated at the elbow of the Loire, and constituted the key 
to southern France. Its capture would involve the sub- 
mission of Touraine, Berri, and Poitou, the very heart of 
Charles vu.'s kingdom. The importance of the siege was 
fully recognised, and desperate exertions were made both for 
the attack and the defence. The English forces were not 
numerous enough to form a complete blockade, but they 
gradually drew nearer and nearer, and their engineering 
works were regarded as the masterpieces of the age. The 
French attempted to cut off a large convoy of provisions, 
escorted by Sir John Fastolf, but they were defeated in the 
battle of the Herrings. This skirmish seemed likely to 
decide the fate of the city. The besieged sent envoys to 
Philip of Burgundy, offering to surrender to him if the 
English would withdraw. Philip was eager that the offer 
should be accepted, but Bedford replied that after having 
beaten the bushes he would not allow another to seize the 
birds. The duke was so indignant that he ordered his own 
troops to retire, and thus a second blow was struck at the 
Anglo-Burgundian alliance. 

Meanwhile Charles vn., whose kingdom was at stake, was 

doing nothing. Tremouille would not allow him to arrange 

terms with the constable, and assistance from Scotland, 

which was urgently demanded, could not arrive 

Appearance , ° J 7 

of Jeanne in time to save Orleans. It was at this juncture 
Darc * that Jeanne Dare made her famous appearance 

at Chinon. It is impossible, in a concise narrative, to do 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 341 

justice to the extraordinarily dramatic episodes that followed 
in such rapid succession. All that can be attempted is to 
tell the story of the chief events in which Jeanne played her 
part, without endeavouring to discuss her claim to supernatural 
guidance, or to throw any new light upon her remarkable 
character and influence. Great efforts were made by the 
courtiers to exclude her from the royal presence ; but the 
impression she had already made upon the common people, 
and the influence of Yolande of Aragon, at last brought about 
the desired meeting. She gained the confidence of the king 
by reassuring him about the legitimacy of his birth, a matter 
on which he entertained not unnatural doubts, though he had 
never communicated his misgivings to any one. After some 
delay, a force was raised with which she entered Orleans on 
April 29, 1429. On May 4 the attack upon the English 
positions was commenced, and on May 8 the French 
siege was raised. Jeanne herself carried the auccesse* 
great news to Charles vn. at Loches, and insisted in I429 * 
that he should accompany her to Rheims for his coronation, 
which had never yet taken place. The indolent king and his 
courtiers were reluctant to undertake a long and hazardous 
march through a country which had long been held by the 
enemy, but the persistence of the victorious maid carried the 
day. To the astonishment of Europe, the French had 
suddenly become invincible. Jargeau was stormed, a large 
body of English under Talbot and Fastolf was routed at 
Patay (June 18), and one town after another opened its gates 
to the advancing army. In Troyes it was determined to 
make a stand, but at the first assault the citizens rose and 
compelled the garrison to surrender. On July 16 Rheims 
was entered, and on the next day the coronation took place 
with the accustomed formalities. 

The daring and success of the march to Rheims made 
a profound impression. Jeanne clamoured for an immediate 
advance upon Paris, and it is probable that if she had 
had her way the capital would have fallen. Bedford was 

342 European History, 1273- 1494 

in despair. In Normandy the opponents of English rule 
were gaining ground, and the loyalty of the Parisians was 
doubtful. To obtain an army he had to conclude his famous 
agreement with Cardinal Beaufort, by which the troops which 
had been collected for the Hussite war were diverted, much 
to the indignation of Martin v., to make war upon Charles vn. 
In order to secure Paris, he had to appeal to the duke of 
Burgundy, and to purchase his continued support by the 
cession of Meaux and by the appointment of a Burgundian 
partisan to the office of captain of the city. Fortunately 
for the English regent, there was treachery and division in 
the royal camp. La Tremouille and his associates were 
eager to destroy the ascendency which Jeanne was acquiring 
over the king. She was known to have advised him to come 
to terms with the constable and to free himself from evil 
advisers, and they felt that the triumph of France would 
be dearly purchased at the cost of their own overthrow. 
And although the younger leaders, such as Dunois, the 
bastard half-brother of the duke of Orleans, were devoted 
to the heroine, the older commanders were indignant at 
being controlled by a girl. Jeanne found that she had to 
contend with a regular conspiracy, of which Charles vn. 
himself, to his eternal shame, was a willing accomplice. 
Futile negotiations with Burgundy provided a pretext for 
a delay which enabled Bedford and Beaufort to bring up 
troops for the defence of Paris. But a rising in Normandy 
compelled Bedford to retire northwards, and Jeanne at last 
succeeded in inducing the royal forces to advance. Com- 
piegne, Senlis, and Beauvais surrendered in rapid succession. 
From Beauvais, the bishop, Pierre Cauchon, was expelled 
as an English partisan, and he was destined to take a terrible 
revenge for the injury. But at St. Denis, Charles vn. refused 
to run any further risks, although his approach would pro- 
bably have induced the Parisians to rise. Losing all patience, 
the maid attacked the fortifications with a volunteer force, 
but met with her first repulse. She returned to St. Denis 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 343 

with the proposal to cross the Seine and attempt a new 
attack on the right bank. To her horrified amazement, the 
bridge had been destroyed by order of the royal council. 
Against such despicable treachery it was impossible to con- 
tend. Charles withdrew to the Loire and disbanded his 
army. Jeanne with difficulty obtained leave to attack some 
of the smaller places on the Loire, but after some successes 
she was driven back from La Charite, to the undisguised 
relief of the courtiers. 

In spite of these bitter disappointments, the French cause 
had made immense strides in 1429. The attack on Orleans 
had been foiled, the greater part of Champagne and Brie 
had been recovered, and the dormant loyalty of the northern 
peoples had received a sudden stimulus. But these successes 
had also served to give new vigour to the alliance between 
Burgundy and England. Philip was no longer a loyal 
supporter of Henry vi., but he was not prepared to acquiesce 
in a triumph of Charles vn. that was obtained without his 
aid. Moreover, his greed for territory was by no means 
satisfied, and he knew that as the English got into difficulties 
the value of his aid would increase. Bedford was quite 
willing to pay the price, and offered the investiture of Cham- 
pagne. It is true that the province was no longer in English 
hands, and that its acceptance imposed upon Philip the 
necessity of recovering it from the French. But Champagne 
was of superlative importance to the duke, because it would 
serve to unite his two chief possessions — Flanders and the 
duchy of Burgundy. He accepted the offer of the regent, 
and in 1430 the Burgundian troops once more capture of 
took the field and laid siege to Compiegne. The Jeanne, 
news that one of her precious conquests was threatened, 
roused Jeanne from the inaction in which she had been 
kept against her will. Without authority from the king, 
she collected a small band of devoted followers, and threw 
herself into the besieged town. It was her last enterprise. 
A sortie which she headed was repulsed, and she was cut 

344 European History, 1273- 1494 

off before she could regain the fortifications. She was taken 
prisoner by the followers of John of Luxemburg, a cadet 
of the house of St. Pol (May 24, 1430). 

From the English point of view, the capture of Jeanne 
was insufficient. The impression she had made must be 
Her trial and effaced, and she herself must be discredited as 
death. we u as punished. A charge of heresy and witch- 

craft was equally suggested by the superstition of the age 
and by the extravagant claims to supernatural powers which 
Jeanne herself had put forward. It was natural for her 
enemies to hold that these powers came not from above, 
but from Satan. The university of Paris, which boasted 
itself the home of the highest learning of the time, gave 
the first cue for persecution. They demanded that she 
should be tried before the inquisition of faith, which had 
been established in France by Innocent in., but had since 
fallen into oblivion. But the university was not sufficiently 
under English dictation, and they had a more suitable 
instrument to hand. The bank of the Oise on which Jeanne 
had been captured was just within the bishopric of Beauvais ; 
and Pierre Cauchon, an exile from his diocese, and ambitious 
of the archbishopric of Rouen, was at the beck and call of 
Bedford. He demanded the surrender of the prisoner to 
his jurisdiction, and undertook the necessary negotiations 
with John of Luxemburg and his suzerain. In ordinary 
times Philip the Good might have preferred to retain so 
valuable a prize ; but his cousin, Philip of Brabant and 
Limburg, had just died, and he was anxious to secure the 
succession. The Nevers branch of his house had strong 
claims to a partition of the inheritance ; and as Bedford's 
intervention might prove decisive, it was imperative to avoid 
any quarrel with the English. The bargain was quickly 
settled. John of Luxemburg carried his prisoner into Artois, 
resigned her to his suzerain, and left to the duke of Bur- 
gundy the disgrace of selling the champion of France to 
the foreigner. In November 1430 the shameful transaction 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 345 

was completed. Into the details of the trial, with its arid 
scholasticism and its wanton brutality, it is unnecessary to 
enter. The presiding judge was the bishop of Beauvais, 
but he was guided throughout by Bedford and Cardinal 
Beaufort. A condemnation was from the first a foregone 
conclusion, and the martyr was burned in the old market- 
place of Rouen on May 28, 1431. 

Meanwhile the war had been going on, and the allies had 
gained little by the capture of their most formidable op- 
ponent. Even Compiegne held out successfully character of 
through a six months' siege. An Anglo-Bur- the war. 
gundian army was defeated in Champagne, and Philip was 
chagrined to see the prize on which he had confidently 
reckoned lost to him for ever. In Normandy the English 
gained some successes, but these were counterbalanced by 
the loss of Melun. In 1431 hostilities were resumed in 
Champagne, Picardy, Artois, and Burgundy. It would be 
tedious and useless to describe the innumerable skirmishes 
and sieges in which, as a rule, only insignificant forces 
took part. With the disappearance of Jeanne Dare all 
restraint upon the brutal instincts of the soldiers had been 
removed. Most of the leaders were mercenary adventurers 
who fought, not out of devotion to one side or the other, 
but because their followers could only be kept together by 
plunder. The atrocities committed by the French troops 
were the greatest obstacle to the success of Charles vn. 
The people were everywhere inclined to return to their 
allegiance, but they hesitated to trust their lives and property 
to such defenders. The war was complicated by an im- 
portant dispute about the succession in Lorraine. On the 
death of Charles 1. in 1431 the duchy was claimed by his 
son-in-law, Rene of Anjou, who was already duke of Bar. 
But he was opposed by Antony of Vaudemont, a nephew 
of the late duke, who maintained that Lorraine was a 
male fief. Charles vn. sent assistance to his brother-in-law, 
while Philip the Good espoused the cause of Vaudemont. 

346 European History \ 1273- 1494 

The Burgundians gained a complete victory in July 143 1, 
when Rene was taken prisoner. But the Lorrainers were 
hostile to the count of Vaudemont, and in the end the 
dispute was compromised. Rene recovered his liberty, and 
his rival withdrew his claims to the duchy on condition that 
his son Frederick should marry Renews daughter, Yolande. 

Bedford was fully conscious that the English cause was 
steadily losing ground in France. He tried to stimulate the 
loyalty of the Parisians by bringing over the young Henry vi. 
to be crowned in Paris. It was his answer to the coronation 
ceremony of Rheims. But it failed to produce the desired 
result. The French were indignant that the chief part in the 
ceremony was taken by Cardinal Beaufort, and not by a 
native prelate. The common people complained that there 
was no remission of taxes and no release of prisoners. Even 
more serious was the growing alienation of Burgundy. In 
1432 occurred the death of Bedford's wife, Anne 
between of Burgundy. She was popular with the Parisians, 
Bedford and whereas the regent was not, and she had always 
urgun y. feen a mediator between her husband and her 
brother. To make matters worse, within five months Bedford 
found a new bride in the person of Jacquetta of Luxemburg, 
daughter of the count of St. Pol, and niece of the captor of 
Joan of Arc. She was a vassal of Burgundy, and Philip was 
indignant that she should make so important a marriage 
without his consent. Cardinal Beaufort made vain attempts 
to effect a reconciliation between the two dukes. They 
were induced to come to St. Omer, but the interview did not 
take place, and the personal quarrel was never healed. 

Meanwhile important events were taking place at the court 
of Charles vn. The ill-feeling against the omnipotent 
favourite, La Tremouille, had been steadily growing, and the 
queen's mother, Yolande of Aragon, organised a conspiracy 
Fail of La for his overthrow. The conspirators acted in 
Tremouille. conjunction with the constable Richemont, who 
sent some of his trusty Bretons to aid them, but wisely 

Burgundians and Armagnacs in France 347 

abstained from interfering in person. The plot was success- 
ful. La Tremouille was surprised in his bed, and was kept 
in close captivity till he had ceased to be formidable. The 
king was terrified when he heard the news, but was consoled 
when he learned that the dreaded Richemont was not present. 
It was not till 1434 that Charles consented to be reconciled 
to the constable, whose rough exterior and brusque measures 
against former favourites had outweighed his loyal services to 
the national cause. From this time a new era opened for 
France. The Royal Council was reformed under the guidance 
of Yolande, and room was found in it for some of those 
bourgeois ministers, to whom was due the later reorganisation 
of the kingdom. Even Charles himself began to show un- 
wonted energy, a change which unsupported tradition has 
assigned to the influence of his mistress, Agnes Sorel. 
French historians are never tired of insisting that France 
owed its salvation in the fifteenth century to two women, 
the one a saint and the other a sinner. 

The quarrel between Bedford and Burgundy and the sup- 
pression of feuds and jealousies at the court of Charles 
removed the most obvious difficulties which had Treaty of 
hitherto impeded . a reconciliation between the Arra *. Mas- 
French king and Philip the Good. Strenuous negotiations 
resulted in an agreement that a congress should meet at Arras 
in July 1435. The English were to be invited to accept 
reasonable terms, and if they refused Philip was to do all in 
his power to restore peace to the kingdom. The inevitable 
result of the congress was easy to foresee. Beaufort and the 
English envoys rejected the first French demand that 
Henry vi. should resign the crown of France, and quitted 
Arras. It only remained to arrange matters with Philip, who 
was in a position to dictate his own terms. It was the 
suzerain who sued for pardon and the vassal who granted it. 
The duke demanded and received the counties of Auxerre 
and Macon in perpetuity for himself and his heirs, the towns 
on the river Somme, which on certain conditions might be 

348 European History, 1273- 1494 

redeemed by the French king, and the recognition of his 
claims to the county of Boulogne, which had been contested 
by the heirs of the late duchess of Berri. In addition, 
Philip was to be freed from all homage and subjection to 
Charles vn. during their common lifetime. If Charles died 
first, Philip was to do homage to his successor; but if Philip 
died first, his heir would become the vassal of Charles vn. 
On these exorbitant conditions Philip agreed to forget all 
past wrongs, i.e. the death of his father, to which Charles 
virtually pleaded guilty, and to enter into a defensive alliance 
against the English. The treaty, which put an end to the 
long feud between Burgundians and Armagnacs, was signed 
on September 21, 1435. A week earlier Bedford had died. 
He had lived long enough to witness the collapse of the 
foundation on which the edifice rested, to whose construction 
he had devoted all his abilities and exertions. 



English disasters and loss of Paris — Prolongation of war — France exhausted 
and demoralised— Necessity of reform — Ordinance of 1439— The Pra- 
guerie — Creation of a standing army — Peace party in England — 
Henry vi. marries Margaret of Anjou — Renewal of war — Conquest of 
Normandy and Guienne — Last years of Charles vn. — Accession of 
Louis XI. — His character and early actions— League of the Public 
Weal — Treaty of Conflans — Charles the Bold and Ltege — Louis recovers 
Normandy — Interview at Pdronne — Charles of France receives Guienne 
— Relations of France and Burgundy with England — Renewal of war 
between Louis and Charles — Death of the Duke of Guienne — Charles's 
acquisitions in Germany — Fate of St. Pol — War with the Swiss and 
death of Charles the Bold— Mary of Burgundy marries Maximilian- 
Treaty of Arras — Successes of Louis xi. — Regency of Anne of Beaujeu — 
Charles vm. marries Anne of Brittany — Question of Naples. 

The death of Bedford and the treaty of Arras were events 
of decisive importance. The English power in northern 
France had rested upon the Burgundian alliance, English 
which was now irretrievably lost. Philip, it is disasters 
true, had not promised active aid to Charles vn., n I435 ' ' 
and probably intended to observe a profitable neutrality 
But the English were too indignant at his desertion to 
allow this. They insulted his envoys, maltreated his sub- 
jects who were resident in England, and set themselves to 
inflict all the damage they could upon Flemish trade. The 
result was that not only was Philip forced into hostilities 
with his late allies, but the Flemish citizens, hitherto the 
strongest link between him and England, urged on the war 
and offered to take the whole burden of it upon themselves. 

350 European History, 1273- 1494 

The rupture with Burgundy altered both the balance of 
military force and the sentiments of the population in the 
northern provinces. A rising took place in Normandy, and 
even Harfleur, the first conquest of Henry v., opened its 
gates to French troops. Many of the strong places in the 
He de France were held by Burgundian commanders, and 
they followed their duke's example in going over to Charles vn. 
In 1436 the constable Richemont was strong enough to 
attack Paris. The citizens had been partisans of Burgundy 
rather than of England ; they had been alienated by recent 
measures of repression ; and the French now commanded the 
water-ways by which the normal supplies of food reached 
Loss of the capital. The fear of famine impelled the 

Pans. citizens to a course which they were eager to 

adopt upon other grounds. One of the gates was opened 
to the constable, and the populace rose with shouts of 
'Peace! The king and the duke of Burgundy!' The 
English garrison, after taking refuge in the Bastille, was 
allowed to depart upon honourable terms. The parliament 
and the other sovereign courts returned to their old abodes, 
and Paris became once more the capital of France. 

The fall of Paris seemed to herald the immediate collapse 
of the English dominion in France. Yet the general ex- 
pectation was disappointed, and the war went on for another 
seventeen years. A number of causes combined to retard 
the progress of the French arms. The assistance rendered 
by the duke of Burgundy proved far less efficient than had 
been anticipated. In the first heat of resentment at the 
treatment he received from the English, Philip vowed a 
striking revenge, and in 1436 he advanced with a large 
force to the siege of Calais. But his troops were mostly 
Flemings, who had never been very skilful in aggressive 
warfare, and had lost most of their military aptitudes during 
the comparative peace which they had enjoyed under Bur- 
gundian rule. The siege was abandoned in disorder even 
before the arrival of Gloucester with a relieving force. 

Revival of the French Monarchy 351 

Philip was deeply chagrined at this humiliating failure, 
and a quarrel with the commune of Bruges diverted his 
attention from the war and induced him in 1439 to con- 
clude a truce for the Netherlands with the English. Even 
more serious than the loss of such a powerful ally was 
the exhaustion and demoralisation of France. For nearly 
thirty years the country had been the scene of a desolat- 
ing war which combined the worst horrors of civil strife 
and foreign invasion, and added to them some evils 
which were peculiar to itself. The most efficient military 
force on the French side was furnished by the companies 
of adventurers which had been originally introduced by 
Armagnac. The employment of these men proved a curse 
to France. They recognised no authority except that of 
their own commanders, and their loyalty to them was only 
purchased by the plunder which they were allowed to extort 
with impartial greed from friend and foe. The horrible 
tortures which they inflicted in order to compel the hapless 
peasants to disclose their savings, are among the most 
revolting incidents of a period in which horrors are the 
rule rather than the exception. The significant name of 
ecorcheurs or flayers, applied to them by their victims, has 
become almost a technical term. The country was de- 
populated as well as despoiled, and the provinces in English 
occupation were the worst sufferers. Financial difficulties 
on both sides were a prominent cause of the prolongation 
of the war. Military operations on a large scale were im- 
possible. So-called battles were mere skirmishes. A force 
of 2000 men was an army. Isolated leaders struck a blow 
here, or captured a town there, merely to keep their soldiers 
employed and to obtain booty, but not with the object of 
gaining any decisive advantage. To many of these leaders 
the termination of the war meant ruin and effacement, a 
result which they were by no means eager to hasten. 

In order to equip France for the final effort that was 
needed to expel the foreign conqueror from her soil, it was 

352 European History, 1 27 3 - 1 494 

necessary to undertake those administrative reforms which 
constitute the real glory of the reign of Charles vn. 
Ministers of Charles is known in history by the name of ' le 
Charles vn. fa en servi,' and it is probably to the ministers 
rather than to the king that the credit of the internal progress 
of France is due. Richemont and Dunois carried out the 
arduous task of transforming the free companies into a dis- 
ciplined force under royal control. The two brothers, 
Gaspard and Jean Bureau, improved the French artillery 
till it became the best in Europe, a pre-eminence which it 
retained for the rest of the century. But the most famous 
adviser of Charles was the merchant of Bourges, Jacques 
Cceur. He owed his influence to the great wealth which 
he acquired by trade with the Levant. Hitherto the cities 
of Italy and the Catalans had been without serious rivals 
in the Mediterranean. Jacques Cceur brought Marseilles 
into competition with Venice, Genoa, and Barcelona. His 
loans to the monarchy enabled Charles vn. to carry on the 
war when the exhaustion of the country made it almost 
impossible to fill the exchequer by means of taxation. 
Charles rewarded him with the office of argentier, or treasurer 
of the royal household. In this capacity he took an active 
part in reforming the financial administration, and especially 
in restoring the currency, which had been ruinously debased 
during the recent disorders. 

By far the most important single measure of the reign was 
the Ordonnance sur la Gendarmerie, published by the States- 
Ordinance general at Orleans in 1439. The preamble re- 
of 1439. c ites that it is made ■ to remedy and put an end 

to the great excesses and robberies committed by the gens 
de guerre, who have long lived and do now live upon the 
people without order or justice.' In the future no one is 
to raise a company without royal licence, and all captains 
are to be nominated by the king, who is to fix the number 
and arms of their soldiers. Pillage is expressly forbidden, 
and jurisdiction over the troops is placed in the hands of 

Revival of the French Monarchy 353 

royal judges. For the payment of the troops an important 
financial innovation is made. The nobles are forbidden to 
impose a tailU or tallage on their domain, and the taille is 
to be a national tax paid to the king. Thus Charles vn. 
received a revenue of 1,800,000 Hvres. There was nothing 
in the ordinance to make this tax permanent, or to give to 
the king any power of arbitrarily fixing the amount of the 
taille ; but the permanence of the taille was held to be 
involved in the permanence of the military force which it 
was granted to support. And the successors of Charles vn. 
held that the right to levy the taille without consent gave 
them also the right to increase it without asking for any 
fresh grant. The acquiescence of the French people was 
due to the sufferings they had gone through. Worn out 
by the prolonged war and by the terrible exactions of the 
free companies, they were eager to strengthen the hands of 
the monarchy to which alone they could look for a restora- 
tion of peace and order. The absolute control of the 
national force and the national revenue, which the action of 
the States-general of Orleans allowed the crown to assume, 
enabled the monarchy to erect a despotism in France. 
Englishmen may hold that orderly government and national 
independence were dearly purchased by the sacrifice of all 
securities for constitutional liberty, but it is at least probable 
that if they had ever found themselves in such an evil plight 
they would have concluded the same bargain on the same 

But though the mass of the people were ready to welcome 
any addition to the royal power, the French nobles were 
sufficiently keen-sighted to perceive the dangers The 
which it involved to their hereditary privileges. Pr aguene. 
The ordinance of 1439 expressly deprived them of three 
valued rights : the power of taxing their own domain, the 
maintenance of troops under their own authority, and the 
carrying on of private war, which was enumerated among 
the causes of disorder which must be suppressed by the 


354 European History, 1 273- 1 494 

royal troops. It was necessary to strike at once before the 
monarchy became too strong. In 1440 a formidable con- 
spiracy was formed under the leadership of the dukes of 
Bourbon and Alencon. Nearly all the great nobles of 
France were concerned in it, except the duke of Burgundy, 
who was occupied with his own affairs, and the two brothers- 
in-law of the king, Rene* le Bon and Charles of Maine. 
Even Dunois allowed himself to be seduced from the royaJ 
cause by the desire to uphold the interests of his class, 
La Tremouille emerged from his obscurity to seize a last 
opportunity of injuring the country and overthrowing the 
hated constable. In the very forefront of the conspirators 
was the dauphin, Louis, who had quarrelled with his father 
on the ground that his mother was insulted by the ostenta- 
tious pomp of Agnes Sorel, and whose restless ambition 
demanded a share in the government. Like many another 
heir to a throne, Louis found himself as prince allied with 
a cause of which as king he became the strenuous opponent. 
The ' Praguerie,' as the rising was called, in allusion to the 
recent disturbances in Bohemia, seemed at first sight to be 
irresistible, especially as the captains of the companies joined 
in the movement. But the king showed unexpected energy 
and decision ; the people rallied to his side, and the selfish 
coalition against national interests broke to pieces. Many 
of the leaders escaped punishment by betraying their 
associates, and Louis was banished to his province of 

The suppression of the Praguerie enabled the government 

to take the necessary steps for carrying out the ordinance 

creation of of x 439- By *445 fifteen companies had been 

a standing created, each under a captain selected by the 

king. A company contained a hundred lances, 

and a lance implied six persons, viz., the man-at-arms, his 

page, three archers, and a coutillier, a soldier armed with 

a coutil or dagger worn at the side. Thus the total number 

of the gens cFordonnance, as they were called, was nine 

Revival of the French Monarchy 355 

thousand. Each captain on appointment had to take the 
following oath : ' I promise and swear by God and Our Lady 
that I will maintain justice — that I will allow no pillage — 
that I will unsparingly punish all those under my charge 
who are guilty of such offence, and that I will make repara- 
tion for the injuries that come to my knowledge.' The gens 
(Tordonnance were a cavalry force, and three years later an 
ordinance of 1448 instituted a body of infantry, the francs 
archiers. Each parish was to equip at the common expense 
a single archer. During peace the cost of his maintenance 
was borne by the parish, but when he was on service he 
was to receive pay from the crown. They were called 'free' 
archers because they were exempt from the taille and other 
obligations. Besides these troops, the king had his Scottish 
Guard, which had grown up during the intimate connection 
with Scotland in the early years of the reign and received 
its final organisation in 1445. There was also an efficient 
body of artillerymen and engineers, the creation of the 
brothers Bureau. That these military reforms were admirably 
suited to their purpose is proved both by the complete 
cessation of complaints about military outrages, and by the 
extraordinarily rapid successes of the French troops when 
active hostilities were resumed. 

While France was occupied with these reforms and with 
the ecclesiastical disputes connected with the Pragmatic 
Sanction of Bourges (see p. 237), England in p art iesin 
her turn was becoming more and more involved England, 
in those internal dissensions which developed into the Wars 
of the Roses. The personal quarrel between Gloucester 
and Cardinal Beaufort proved the origin of a lasting party 
struggle. After the treaty of Arras, Beaufort and his sup- 
porters had seen clearly that the conquest of France was 
impossible and had urged the conclusion of peace as the 
only means of preserving a part of the provinces acquired 
by Henry v. and Bedford. On the other hand, Gloucester, 
backed by the unreasoning sentiment of the mob, had urged 

ww| r *C ■ ' t 

356 European History, 1273- 1494 

the disgrace of surrender and the necessity of a dogged 
prosecution of the war. The strife of parties had materially 
contributed to relax the efforts of England in the languid 
warfare that went on from 1436 to 1444. In 1441 the peace 
party had secured the release of Charles of Orleans, who had 
been a prisoner since the battle of Agincourt and had found 
solace during his captivity in the composition of poems which 
have given him an honourable place in literary history. 
Three years later the Duke of Suffolk, who was gradually 
superseding the aged cardinal in the leadership of the party, 
succeeded in arranging a truce for twenty-two months and 
in negotiating a marriage between Henry vi. and Margaret 
of Anjou, a daughter of Rend le Bon and a niece of 
Charles vn.'s wife. The marriage was solemnised in 1445, 
but it was extremely unpopular in England. Not only did 
Margaret bring no dowry, but it was part of the bargain 
that Anjou and Maine should be handed over to her uncle, 
Charles of Maine. Anjou had never been thoroughly con- 
quered, but Maine had long been in English hands and 
they still had a garrison in its capital, Le Mans. Dreading 
the outbreak of popular fury, Suffolk did all in his power 
to keep the agreement secret and to postpone its execution. 
But in 1448, after several prolongations of the truce, the 
patience of the French was exhausted, and a small force 
Renewal of rnarched to Le Mans and compelled the with- 
the war, drawal of the garrison and the evacuation of the 
I449 " whole province. The truce was now extended 

for another two years, but no permanent treaty could be 
arranged, and a renewal of hostilities was sooner or later 
inevitable. France had by this time completed the work 
of internal reorganisation, while England was hopelessly 
unprepared and distracted by factious disputes. Under 
these circumstances it was madness for England to provoke 
a quarrel. But Suffolk and the Beauforts were conscious 
that the surrender of Maine had alienated public opinion, 
and hoped by a display of vigour to disarm opposition. 

Revival of the French Monarchy 357 

The garrison of Le Mans had been quartered on the border 
of Normandy and Brittany. On March 24, 1449, while the 
truce was still in force, these troops attacked and took the 
Breton town of Fougeres. The act was as ill- conquest of 
timed as it was treacherous. Not only did it the English 
give Charles vn. a pretext for renewing the war, P rovince8 - 
but it alienated the young Francis 1. of Brittany, who had 
hitherto maintained an attitude of friendly neutrality. The 
duke appealed for aid to his suzerain, and Charles vn. 
despatched his army to invade Normandy. The campaign 
was little more than a triumphal progress for the French 
troops. Within two months more than twenty towns were 
taken. When Rouen was besieged, the citizens rose and 
shut up the garrison in the citadel, where Edmund Beaufort, 
who commanded, had to surrender (October 19, 1449). By 
the end of the year the English had lost the whole of 
Normandy except a few places on the coast, which were 
all taken in the course of 1450. In England these sudden 
and unexpected reverses excited a storm of indignation. 
Adam de Moleyns, bishop of Chichester, was assassinated 
at Portsmouth. Suffolk was impeached, exiled by the king, 
and murdered at sea. The rising of Jack Cade was only a 
prominent symptom of the prevalent discontent. The duke 
of York came over from Ireland, and civil war was on the 
verge of breaking out. But domestic disturbances, however 
justified by previous misgovernment, were ill calculated to 
assist the defence of the French provinces. From Normandy 
the French turned their attention to Guienne, and the 
campaign in the south was as rapid and successful as that 
in the north. On August 26, 1451, Bayonne surrendered, 
and the English held nothing in France except Calais and 
the adjacent forts of Guines and Ham. It is true that the 
long commercial intercourse with England and the recollec- 
tion of the lenity of English rule as compared with that of 
Charles vn. led to a rising in Bordeaux in 1452, and an 
English force under the veteran Talbot was sent to take 

358 European History, 1273- 1494 

advantage of the opportunity. But Talbot was defeated and 
slain at the battle of Castillon (July 17, 1453), and Bordeaux 
was soon afterwards compelled to capitulate. 

In spite of the glory reflected upon Charles vn. by the 
restoration of unity, independence, and comparative order 
Later years of to his kingdom, his later years were the reverse 
Charles vn. Q f happy. The gloomy suspicion which he had 
contracted in his troubled youth became a settled habit as 
he grew old. He shut himself up from the eyes of his 
subjects with the obscure mistresses who became his com- 
panions after the death of Agnes Sorel in 1450. To his 
loyal minister, Jacques Coeur, he showed the same cynical 
ingratitude as he had formerly displayed to Joan of Arc. 
There were plenty of courtiers who were jealous of the 
influence of the merchant whose wealth made the phrase 
'rich as Jacques Coeur' almost a proverbial expression. 
All sorts of charges, ranging from malversation to the 
poisoning of Agnes Sorel, were trumped up to procure his 
ruin. His property was confiscated, and after a trial in 
which the evidence was ludicrously unconvincing, the sen- 
tence of death was commuted by royal clemency to perpetual 
imprisonment. From his prison he escaped to Italy, and 
was appointed by Nicolas v. commander of the papal galleys 
in the projected war against the Turks. But he died in 
1456 before he had any opportunity of winning distinction 
in this novel capacity. 

By far the greatest trouble of Charles vn. in the later part 
of his reign arose out of his quarrel with his elder son Louis. 
Quarrel with After the suppression of the Praguerie a tem- 
the dauphin, porary reconciliation took place, and the dauphin 
returned to court. But Charles was intensely suspicious of 
his son, and in 1446 the alleged discovery of a new conspiracy 
induced him to banish Louis once more to Dauphine. From 
this time the quarrel became irreconcilable, and father and 
son never met again. For the next ten years Louis set him- 
self to rule his appanage as if it were an independent princi- 

Revival of the French Monarchy 359 

pality. He erected a parliament of his own at Grenoble and 
a university at Valence. His court became the refuge of all 
malcontents against the royal government. To strengthen 
himself against his father he concluded a close alliance with 
the duke of Savoy, and married his daughter Charlotte. So 
notorious was the quarrel that the Pope and the kings of 
Aragon and Castile proffered their mediation, but in vain. 
At last, in 1456, Charles despatched Dammartin with an army 
to compel the submission of Dauphine\ Louis had no 
adequate military force of his own, his father-in-law declined 
to run the risk of assisting him, and he fled to Franche- 
Comte and threw himself upon the protection of the duke 
of Burgundy. Philip received him with great pomp in 
Brabant, and assigned to him a residence at Genappe, where 
he remained for the next five years. 

Since the treaty of Arras and the futile siege of Calais, 
Philip the Good had taken little part in the affairs of France. 
He had allowed the Praguerie to be put down, Relations 
and the English to be expelled from France, with Bur- 
without stirring to the aid of either, although the gundy * 
aggrandisement of the French monarchy was obviously 
dangerous to himself. His absorbing interest during these 
years was the government and extension of the heterogeneous 
dominions which had come under his rule. The Flemish 
citizens found it difficult to defend their liberties against a 
ruler who could employ against them the resources of so many 
other provinces. A rising in Bruges in 1437 was suppressed 
with great severity. In 1448 a more serious rebellion broke 
out in Ghent, and the citizens appealed for aid to Charles vii. 
But the French king was prevented from interfering by the 
renewal of the English war, and the Gantois were left unaided 
to conduct a heroic resistance against overwhelming odds. 
It was not till 1453 that a crushing defeat at the battle of 
Gavre compelled them to submit, and even then the duke 
granted fairly moderate terms to such formidable opponents. 
This victory was followed by the acquisition of Luxemburg, 

3 60 European History \ 1 27 3 - 1 494 

which Philip finally acquired on the death of his aunt 
Elizabeth, in opposition to the strong legal claims of Ladislas 
Postumus, whose mother was a daughter of the emperor 
Sigismund. In spite of the extent and wealth of his 
dominions, Philip was conscious of two serious elements 
of weakness. There was no social or political unity between 
the various provinces, which were held together only by sub- 
jection to a common ruler. And, geographically, they were 
split into two distinct units. Between the Netherlands and 
the two Burgundies lay the provinces of Champagne and 
Lorraine, over which the duke had no legal authority. 
He could not travel from his northern capital at Brussels 
to his southern residence at Dijon without having to pass 
through foreign and possibly hostile territories. 

Charles vn. was fully conscious of the danger involved to 
the French monarchy in the erection of a practically inde- 
pendent state on the eastern and north-eastern frontiers of 
France. His suzerainty over the French fiefs of Philip was 
suspended during the latter's lifetime by the treaty of Arras, 
and even when it should be revived by his own death or that 
of the duke, it would be of little use against a vassal who was 
strong enough to defy his overlord. The most pressing 
danger was the occupation by Philip of the strongest places 
in Picardy, which brought him into dangerous proximity to 
Paris. Twice Charles endeavoured to exercise the power of 
redeeming the towns on the Somme which had been reserved 
in the treaty of Arras, but both times he had to put up with a 
rebuff. An open struggle between France and the Burgundian 
power was, sooner or later, inevitable, but Charles was too 
weary of warfare to allow it to break out during his reign. 
Even when the duke gave such an ostentatious welcome to 
the rebellious dauphin, the king refused to depart from his 
policy of peace. But he showed a grim sense of humour 
when he heard of the reception of his restless and ambitious 
son in Brussels. Philip, he said, ' is nourishing the fox who 
will one day devour his chickens.' 

Revival of the French Monarchy 361 

The dauphin was still at Genappe when the news reached 
him that his father had died on July 22, 146 1. It was said 
that Charles was so terrified of being poisoned in Accession of 
his food that he starved himself to death ; and it Louis XI - 
is quite possible that his suspicious timidity was a trait of 
insanity inherited from the unfortunate Charles vi. Louis 
lost no time in setting out to take possession of his kingdom, 
and he was accompanied by his Burgundian host and 
champion. At the coronation ceremony at Rheims, and in 
the formal entry into Paris, Philip played the most prominent 
part. It is true that, in accordance with the treaty of Arras, 
he did homage to the new king for his French fiefs, but under 
the circumstances the homage seemed almost ironical. In 
the eyes of the people the duke was the powerful patron and 
protector, while his nominal suzerain appeared as his grateful 
dependant. Louis was still looked upon as the leader of the 
Praguerie, as the rebel lord of Dauphine, as the fugitive guest 
in the dominions of the duke of Burgundy ; and his first acts 
seemed to accord with the principles which had guided his 
conduct in the past. He gave the duchy of Berri as an 
appanage to his younger brother Charles. To Philip's son 
and heir, Charles of Charolais, he granted the government of 
the all-important province of Normandy. The duke of 
Brittany received the government of the district between the 
Lower Seine and the Loire. The faithful servants of his 
father, such as Dunois and Dammartin, were dismissed, and 
the latter was imprisoned. The offices thus left vacant were 
conferred upon men who had supported the dauphin against 
the late king. It seemed as if the feudal nobles of France 
had at last found a king who would govern in their interests 
rather than in those of the crown. The history of the reign 
is the record of their bitter disappointment. 

Louis xi. is perhaps the most familiar figure in the history 
of the fifteenth century. His character has been painted for 
all time by Philippe de Commines ; and his portrait has been 
described for English readers by Sir Walter Scott. He is 

362 European History \ 1273- 1494 

the model prince of the new type, the astute pupil of that 
Italian statecraft which Machiavelli drew up in a systematic 
character treatise. He was, according to Chastellain, ( the 
and policy o* universal spider ' ; his intrigues formed a vast web 
with himself at the centre. No consideration of 
morality, pride, or mercy was allowed to interfere with the 
attainment of his ends. His industry was unceasing, and he 
had a wonderful insight into the weaker side of human 
nature. ' No one ever took more trouble to gain over a man 
who might do him either service or injury.' His one weak- 
ness was a caustic tongue, and he acknowledged that his 
indulgence of this unruly member frequently brought him 
into scrapes. He was naturally suspicious and mistrustful; 
he would listen to advice, but follow his own counsel ; his 
ministers must be his tools ; independence was treachery in 
his eyes. He forgot nothing, and forgave nothing, but he 
could dissimulate even his anger. His policy has been 
equally clearly portrayed for us. He was, in the words of 
Commines, ' the enemy of all great men, whose power might 
surpass his own, and he was naturally the friend of men of 
low estate.' But this phrase must not be misunderstood. 
Louis xi. did not depress the nobles in order to exalt the 
lower classes or to extend their liberty. Municipal inde- 
pendence was as hateful to him as aristocratic privilege. 
Everything was to be equally subject to the crown. The 
great achievement of his reign vvas the victory of centralisa- 
tion over the tendencies to disintegration in France. In- 
dividual members of the bourgeois class were his favourite 
instruments ; for the class itself he did nothing, except so far 
as the people were better off under a strong monarchy than 
under the rule of a selfish and divided noble caste. 

Commines tells us that Louis xi. was ' the wisest king at 
recovering from a false step,' and at the beginning of his 
Louis' first reign false steps were not infrequent. In the 
measures. fi r st consciousness of the authority which he had 
long coveted, he made many powerful enemies by his rest- 

Revival of the French Monarchy 363 

less activity, and did not stop to consider the danger to which 
their combined hostility might expose him. The vengeful 
spirit with which he began his reign soon gave way to the 
resolute purpose of increasing his power. Instead of concili- 
ating the people by the expected remission of taxes, he 
imposed a new charge upon the sale of wines. To the great 
indignation of the clergy he annulled the Pragmatic Sanction 
of Bourges, which, for the last twenty-three years, had given 
a large measure of independence to the Gallican Church. 
Yet his strong sense of his own authority prevented him from 
restoring to the papacy its former powers, and ecclesiastical 
anarchy prevailed during the rest of his reign. The Roman 
Curia treated the Pragmatic Sanction as null and void, 
whereas the Parliament of Paris acted as if it were still in force, 
and the king regulated his conduct according to his varying 
need to conciliate either the papacy or his own subjects. 

But the chief dissatisfaction with the rule of Louis was felt 
by the nobles. An edict which declared hunting to be a 
domain right of the crown, and prohibited Alienation of 
private preserves as illegal, excited intense ill- the nobles, 
feeling among men to whom the chase was not only the chief 
occupation of their lives, but also a badge of their rank. 
And the greater princes had special grievances. The duke 
of Bourbon was deprived of the government of Guienne 
which he had mis-used. With the duke of Brittany the king 
quarrelled on the old grounds as to the homage due for the 
duchy and the extent of the ducal rights to the revenue of 
vacant benefices. Francis II. opened negotiations with 
Edward iv., and tried to renew the Anglo-Burgundian 
alliance. On discovering these plans, Louis was compelled, 
in self-defence, to withdraw the government of Normandy 
from Charles of Charolais. At the same time, in order to 
render Charles's hostility impotent, and to strengthen the 
crown against the prince whose patronage he resented even 
while he had profited by it, Louis set himself to foment 
domestic disturbances at the court of Burgundy. During 

364 European History, 1273- 1494 

his five years of exile he had established intimate relations 
with Philip the Good's favourite ministers, Antony of Croy 
and his brother John of Chimay. The growing ascendency 
of these men and the suspicion that they were allied with and 
possibly in the pay of the French king, roused the animosity 
of Charles of Charolais, who quarrelled so fiercely with his 
father on the subject that he quitted Brussels and took up 
Quarrel with ^is residence in Holland. His absence enabled 
Charles the Louis, with the help of the Croy brothers, to 
induce Philip to allow the redemption of the 
Somme towns for the stipulated 400,000 crowns. Charles 
was more furious than ever at the curtailment of his inheri- 
tance and the strengthening of the French frontier at his 
expense. In 1464 events enabled him to turn the tables on 
his opponents. A report was spread that an emissary of 
Louis had plotted to kidnap Charles in Holland, and though 
there was probably no foundation for the story, it served to 
bring about a partial reconciliation between Philip and his 
son. Louis xi. sent an embassy to Brabant to denounce the 
untruth, and to demand the surrender of its author, but the 
Chancellor of France used such peremptory language that 
Philip's pride was roused, and not only was the demand 
refused, but the Croy favourites, who were identified with 
French interests, were disgraced and expelled from the 
court. Philip himself was now old and feeble, and allowed 
the reins of government to fall into the hands of his impetuous 
son, whom contemporaries and posterity have agreed to call 
Charles the Bold or the Rash. This was a serious defeat for 
the plans of Louis. Charles was more of an independent 
prince than a vassal of France, but in both capacities it was 
his interest to weaken the French monarchy by encouraging 
the feudal independence of the great nobles. The policy 
which he pursued for the next few years is clearly expressed 
in his own phrase : ' Instead of one king of France I would 
like to see six 1 ' 

In 1465 the adhesion of Burgundy emboldened the princes 

Revival of the French Monarchy 365 

of the lilies to take active measures against the monarchy. 
The most prominent organiser of the conspiracy The war of 
was the duke of Bourbon, who acted as negotiator the Public 
between the two most powerful associates, the ea ' I4 5 * 
duke of Brittany and Charles the Bold. The signal for 
concerted action was the flight to Brittany of Charles of 
Berri, a youth of nineteen, who was to take the part which 
Louis himself had played in the Praguerie. At the court 
of Francis were assembled Dunois and most of the other 
servants of Charles vn. whom Louis had too hastily dis- 
missed. A sort of open letter or manifesto was drafted in 
the name of the duke of Berri and addressed to Philip of 
Burgundy. In it the confederates denounced the oppressive 
rule of Louis as injurious to the welfare of the people \ and 
this profession of public spirit to cover private aims was 
sufficient to give them the name of the ' League of the 
Public Weal.' Louis had for some time been conscious of 
the approach of danger, and had sought to strengthen him- 
self against it. The duke of Savoy was his brother-in-law, 
and the aid of Francesco Sforza was purchased by the 
cession of Genoa. This, however, ruined the Angevin cause 
in Naples, and John of Calabria, eager for vengeance, brought 
Italian and Swiss mercenaries to the aid of the league. In 
England, which could render more efficient aid than any 
other power, Louis' scheme met with failure. He had gained 
over Warwick, the apparently all-powerful king-maker, and 
hoped, with his help, to induce Edward iv. to form a marriage 
alliance with France. But Edward preferred the charms of 
Elizabeth Woodville, a niece of the count of St. Pol, who 
was marshalling the forces of Burgundy for an invasion of 
Picardy, and this marriage was a blow to the influence of 
Warwick and the interests of Louis. The king found him- 
self almost isolated in France. His old province of Dauphine* 
was loyal to him, and his uncle, Charles of Maine, undertook 
to oppose the rebels on the border of Brittany. In Paris, 
too, he had conciliated the citizens, but most of the towns 

366 European History, 1273- 1494 

were passively waiting to see which side would prove the 
stronger. In these circumstances Louis felt that it would 
be dangerous to stake everything on the devotion of his 
capital, and instead of waiting to be attacked he determined 
to take the offensive. Some of the royal troops preferred 
to support their local overlords, but the great mass of them 
were loyal to the crown, and the possession of a trained and 
well-equipped force was the one advantage which the king 
possessed over his enemies who had to collect hasty levies 
from among their vassals. His first march was against the 
duke of Bourbon, as the most resolute and the most central 
of his opponents, and he had already made considerable 
progress when he was recalled by the news that Charles 
the Bold, at the head of his father's forces, was threatening 
Paris. Louis hoped to enter the capital without a contest, 
but chance or treachery brought the two armies so close 
together that a collision was inevitable. The battle of Mont- 
lheri was a confused skirmish in which no military capacity 
was displayed on either side. The left wing of each army 
routed its immediate opponents, and thus neutralised each 
other's success. The Count of Charolais claimed the victory 
on the ground that his troops were left in occupation of 
the field, but he had suffered the greater losses, and the only 
tangible result was obtained by the king, who entered Paris 
two days later. Soon afterwards the arrival of Berri and 
Brittany from the north-west and of John of Calabria from 
the south-east gave the princes an apparently overwhelming 
superiority of numbers. But they were divided by mutual 
jealousies and by the selfishness of their several aims, and 
thus concerted action was rendered impossible. The urgent 
necessity of increasing his forces and of securing the valleys 
of the Seine, Marne, and Yonne, by which Paris was pro- 
visioned, compelled Louis to make an expedition to Nor- 
mandy. By so doing he ran a very serious risk of losing 
Paris, but the citizens refused to listen to the specious offers 
of the princes, and the king returned with 12,000 troops 

Revival of the French Monarchy 367 

and a supply of provisions. Following the advice of Fran 
cesco Sforza, he sought to divide his opponents by separate 
negotiations. But there was one demand, that he should 
give the government of Normandy to Charles of Berri, which 
he persistently refused to grant. Not only was the province 
one of the largest and wealthiest of the kingdom, but in the 
hands of his brother it would serve to connect the two most 
powerful malcontents, Brittany and Burgundy, and the three 
together could reduce Paris to such straits that they would 
be able to dictate terms to the king. But while this difficulty 
proved a stumbling-block in the way of the negotiations, 
the news came that Rouen had been treacherously surrendered 
to his opponents. Louis at once decided that, the mischief 
being done, it was better to put an end to the present war 
and to trust to future opportunities for a chance of recovering 
his losses. In October the treaty was drawn up Treaty of 
at Conflans and finally signed at St. Maur des Conflan »- 
Fosses. ' The public weal was changed into individual weal,' 
and no attempt was made to carry out the professions 
which the princes had put forward at the outset. The Prag- 
matic Sanction, with regard to which the king's conduct was 
most obviously indefensible, was not even mentioned. The 
most important provisions were the restoration of the Somme 
towns to Burgundy, with the provision that they should not 
be again redeemed till after the death of Charles and his 
immediate heir, and the cession of Normandy to Charles 
of Berri. But nearly every member of the league received 
some concession. The duke of Brittany was to have Mont- 
fort and Etampes, and his claims to sovereign rights, with 
regard to ecclesiastical revenues, were allowed. St. Pol was 
to be constable, John of Calabria was to have certain cessions 
in Lorraine and money for the maintenance of troops to 
support the Angevin cause, and the dispossessed officials of 
Charles vn. were to recover their places. The princes of 
the lilies seemed to have won a complete victory over the 

368 European History, 1273- 1494 

But Louis knew that he had only to bide his time. The 
very completeness of their success dissolved the bonds that 
held the confederates together. United they were irresistible, 
but if they could be severed from each other the king could 
hope to regain what he had lost. Even during the siege 
of Paris his shrewd eye had been keen to detect the nascent 
jealousies which were to give him the desired opportunity 
for revenge. Already his intrigues had provided an occupa- 
Risingsin tion for the forces of Burgundy. In the heart 
Ltege- f th e Netherlands lay the ecclesiastical princi- 

pality of Liege, ruled by its bishop as a vassal of the 
empire. Annexation was impossible, and geography made 
complete independence equally out of the question. Liege 
was famous then as it is now for its iron manufactures, 
and the prosperous artisans, the most democratic community 
in mediaeval Europe, were in constant revolt against episcopal 
rule. It was the policy of the Burgundian dukes to main- 
tain a hold over the bishop by supporting him against his 
rebellious subjects, and the present bishop, Louis of Bourbon, 
was a dissolute youth wholly subservient to his uncle, Philip 
the Good, to whom he owed his mitre. On the other hand, 
the citizens looked for aid to France, which was the chief 
market for their produce. As soon as the war began, Louis 
had taken measures to organise a revolt in Liege, which 
broke out on the arrival of a false report that the Burgundian 
troops had been completely routed at Montlhe*ri. Dinant, 
the second town of the principality, incurred the special 
displeasure of Philip by hanging over the walls an effigy of 
Charles of Charolais with an inscription declaring him to 
be a bastard. Directly after the treaty of Conflans, Charles 
led his troops into Li£ge to put down disorder and to punish 
this insult. But the season was too far advanced for active 
operations, and after forcing upon Li£ge the ' piteous peace,' 
by which the cause of Dinant was abandoned and the liberties 
of the city curtailed, Charles dispersed his forces for the 
winter. In 1466 the invasion was renewed, and the aged 

Revival of the French Monarchy 369 

duke, Philip, accompanied the army in person to enjoy the 
luxury of revenge. Dinant was taken and razed to the 
ground, and the men of Liege, roused by the sufferings of 
their neighbours to a tardy breach of the recent treaty, were 
compelled to renew their submission, to pay a heavy fine, 
and to hand over fifty leading citizens as hostages for their 
good faith. In spite of these reverses they retained their 
obstinate antipathy to external control and their confident 
expectation of assistance from France. In 1467 Charles the 
Bold, who had become duke of Burgundy by his father's 
death on June 15, led what had now become an annual 
expedition for the attack on Liege. Under the walls of 
St. Tron an obstinate battle ended in a victory for the 
Burgundians. Liege might still have stood a siege, but the 
citizens, divided and cowed, agreed to capitulate. The waLs 
were levelled to the ground, and the free constitution of th > 
city was annulled. So impressive was Charles's success, that 
Ghent, which had won increased privileges by a rising on 
the occasion of his 'joyous entry,' hastened to appease 
him by a timely submission. It seemed for a moment 
that the champion of feudal independence in France might 
succeed in establishing despotic government within his own 

While Charles was engaged in his first campaign against 
Liege, Louis had seized the opportunity to recover the most 
serious of his losses. As soon as the treaty of Louis 
Conflans had been concluded, the dukes of Berri recovers 
and Brittany had set out together to take posses- Normand y- 
sion of Normandy. But the triumphant confederates quar- 
relled over the division of the spoil. The feeble Charles of 
Berri resented the patronage and pretensions of his ally, who 
claimed for his own subjects the most valuable places in the 
duchy. Louis took prompt advantage of the dispute. He 
concluded a treaty with the indignant Francis of Brittany at 
Caen, and despatched the royal troops to Rouen. The 
province was recovered as rapidly as it had been lost, and 

370 European History, 1273- 1494 

the two dukes — c wise after the event '-made up their 
differences and set themselves in Brittany to devise means for 
regaining what they had forfeited by their own folly. They 
made urgent appeals for aid to Edward iv. of England and 
to Burgundy, and Louis was fully alive to the danger of such 
a coalition. He had two trump cards to play in the intricate 
negotiations which followed. In England he had gained over 
the earl of Warwick, and Warwick, though his influence was 
waning, and he was unable to prevent the marriage of Charles 
the Bold with Margaret of York, was yet strong enough to 
avert for a time any active intervention of England in oppo- 
sition to France. And Louis, as we have seen, was able to 
hamper the action of Burgundy by stirring up disaffection 
in Liege. His supreme object was to keep Burgundy and 
Brittany apart, and he constantly offered to abandon the 
cause of the Liegeois if Charles would give him a free hand 
in dealing with the dukes of Brittany and Berri. But Charles 
the Bold was too astute to approve of so one-sided a bargain, 
and Louis was forced to adopt another ruse. In 1468 he 
bribed his brother and duke Francis to conclude a separate 
treaty, without consulting Burgundy, and then he promptly 
communicated the fact of their desertion to Charles. He 
was confident that Charles's indignation would impel him to 
punish them by a similar abandonment, and when his envoys 
failed to conduct the negotiations to a successful issue he 
determined to try his own powers of diplomacy. 

The experienced politicians of Europe were astounded to 
hear that the French king had obtained an unconditional safe- 
conduct from his vassal, and had ventured with a wholly 
interview inadequate escort to run the risk of a personal 
at Pe"ronne. interview at Peronne. But in his own self-con- 
fidence and his contempt for the ability of his rival, Louis 
had made another 'false step.' He had completely forgotten 
that his emissaries were at the moment engaged in rekindling 
the smouldering embers of rebellion in Li£ge. While he was 
still the duke's guest at Peronne, the news arrived that the 

Revival of the French Monarchy 37 1 

citizens had seized the bishop, and had barbarously murdered 
several members of the chapter. Charles was so furious that 
his more prudent advisers had great difficulty in dissuading 
him from laying violent hands upon his suzerain. Louis's 
father had been held responsible for the murder of a duke oi 
Burgundy; and it might well have been that the duke's 
grandson would not shrink from the death of a king of 
France. Louis could only escape from his perilous position 
by agreeing to all the terms dictated by the host who was 
now his gaoler. He had to incur the ignominy of accom- 
panying the Burgundian army in a fourth expedition against 
Liege, and to take part in the destruction of a city whose 
chief fault was a too implicit confidence in his own promises 
of support. If Charles had demanded the restoration of 
Normandy to the duke of Berri, Louis could hardly have 
refused. But the duke of Burgundy had not yet forgotten 
the action of Brittany earlier in the year, and he was more 
anxious to strengthen himself than to weaken the French 
king by renewing the old league against him. Instead of 
Normandy, he demanded the cession to the king's brother 
of Champagne and Brie. Isolated from Brittany, Charles of 
Berri could hardly fail to become the tool of Burgundy ; and, 
in the hands of a submissive ally, these provinces would 
serve to connect the Netherlands with the original Burgundian 
possessions. Louis perforce consented ; but before he 
escaped from the toils, his quick mind had already dis- 
covered a means of evading the danger. At his parting 
interview with Charles he put forward as a casual suggestion 
that his brother might decline the proffered appanage, and 
asked what he should do. Charles replied, without thought, 
that in that case he must leave the king to satisfy the duke. 
Louis took these hasty words as authority to make an inde- 
pendent bargain. No sooner was he safe within his own 
realm than he offered his brother the duchy of Guienne. 
Guienne was a far more wealthy and important province than 
Champagne, and in itself was a greater loss to the crown ; 

372 European History \ 1273- 1494 

but, on the other hand, it was far removed from the two 
dangerous opponents of the crown — the dukes of Burgundy 
and Brittany — and Louis knew that his brother, by himself, 
was not likely to be formidable. The bribe was accepted, 
and thus the most important provision of the treaty of 
Peronne was never carried into effect. 

The substitution of Guienne for Champagne freed Louis 
from the worst consequences of his ill-timed visit to Peronne, 
but it did little or nothing to remove the great standing 
difficulties in his way. Burgundy and Brittany were as power- 
ful and as independent as ever. They could reckon on the 
support of all the feudal nobles in France who wished to 
limit the authority of the crown. Worst of all, they could 
call in the aid of the Yorkist king of England, who had 
recently proved his complete estrangement from France by 
giving his sister in marriage to Charles the Bold. 
France and' ** was obviously of immense importance to Louis 
Burgundy to secure himself from danger on the side of 
und Eng England, and for the moment events seemed to 
favour his schemes. Warwick was now com- 
pletely estranged from Edward iv., and Clarence, the latter's 
brother, had joined the king-maker and had married his elder 
daughter, Isabel Neville. But Edward was still too strong 
for his opponents, and in 1470 Warwick and Clarence had to 
seek refuge in France. Louis seized the opportunity to effect 
a reconciliation between his cousin, Margaret of Anjou, and 
the man who had done more than any other to ruin the 
Lancastrian cause. Warwick's second daughter, Anne, was 
married to the ill-fated Edward, titular prince of Wales, and 
the former champion of the Yorkists undertook to restore the 
house of Lancaster. Such an extraordinary and unexpected 
coalition effected an easy revolution in England. Henry vi. 
emerged from his prison to play, for a few more months, 
the part of king ; and Edward iv. sought safety and assist- 
ance in the dominions of his brother-in-law. Charles the 
Bold found himself placed by these events in an awkward 

Revival of the French Monarchy 373 

dilemma. Descended through his mother from John of 
Gaunt, he had long posed as a supporter of the Lancastrian 
cause, and had sheltered at his court many of the leading 
nobles of that party. Recent events had forced him into an 
alliance with Edward iv., but it had been dictated by policy 
rather than by good-will. If the restoration of Henry vi. 
were permanent, Charles could hope to gain such support 
among the Lancastrian nobles as would secure him against 
the French proclivities of Warwick and Margaret of Anjou. 
On the other hand, Edward was his wife's brother ; he was a 
refugee in the Burgundian province of Holland ; to disown 
him would put an end to all hope of English assistance in 
the event of Edward recovering his crown. Charles escaped 
from the dilemma in a manner characteristic of the age. 
Publicly he protested his devotion to the house of Lancaster, 
but secretly he gave Edward sufficient assistance to enable 
him to return to England. The desertion of Clarence, who 
had no interest in restoring the Lancastrian dynasty, and the 
ill-concealed enmity with which the Lancastrian partisans 
continued to regard Warwick, gave Edward successive 
victories over the two sections of the hostile coalition. At 
Barnet, the Nevilles were crushed and Warwick slain (April 
14, 147 1 ), and three weeks later Margaret and her imme- 
diate followers met with a fatal reverse at Tewkesbury. The 
deaths of the prince of Wales and his father left the house of 
Lancaster almost extinct, except for a solitary scion of the 
illegitimate line of Beaufort, and the permanence of the 
Yorkist dynasty, with its numerous male representatives, 
seemed to be assured. 

The decisive victory of Edward iv. was a blow to Louis xi., 
and it was the more serious because in 1470 he had become 
involved in new hostilities with Charles the Bold. „, u „ 

The Con- 

This was in great measure due to the Count of stable 
St. Pol, who had been an influential personage at St * Po1 ' 
the French court ever since the war of the Public Weal. His 
position was in many ways an extraordinary one. For his 

374 European History, 1273- 1494 

hereditary estates he was a vassal of Charles the Bold, 
and the bulk of these estates lay in or near the province of 
Picardy, the very frontier where the rivalry between French 
and Burgundian interests was most acute. As Constable he 
was a servant of the French king and the chief commander 
of the standing forces of the crown. The incongruity of 
such a double relation had been clearly shown in recent 
events. In 1466 St. Pol had taken part as a Burgundian 
vassal in the campaign against Dinant and Liege. In the 
next year he had headed the French embassy which had 
suggested the abandonment of Liege by Louis as the price of 
Charles's severance from Brittany. The importance and the 
anomaly of the constable's position were both increased by 
his own marriage with Mary of Savoy, Louis xi.'s sister-in- 
law, and by the marriage of his niece, Elizabeth Woodville, to 
Edward iv. of England. It was the ambition of St. Pol to 
play the part of an independent potentate in the politics of 
Europe, and he conceived that the best way to do this was 
to prolong the strife between France and Burgundy. Not 
only did the war increase his power and importance as con 
stable of France, but it also enabled him, through the position 
of his own estates, to hold a sort of balancing position 
between the two opponents. Both might hate and fear him, 
but it was in the highest degree unlikely that they would 
combine against him ; and as both must bid for his support 
it was in his power to make his own terms with either side as 
interest and policy should dictate. 

Accordingly, in 1470, St. Pol persuaded Louis to strike a 
blow for the recovery of the Somme towns, and in the king's 
Renewed name ne to °k possession of Amiens and St. 
war between Quentin. Charles the Bold was taken by surprise, 
France and an d the want of a standing army always made it 
Burgun y. difficult for him to meet any sudden move on the 
part of the French king. He was naturally indignant that the 
blow should be dealt by one of his own vassals, and his anger was 
by no means diminished when he received a message from St. Pol 

Revival of the French Monarchy 375 

ind his associates that they would desert to his side if he would 
marry his daughter Mary to Charles of Guienne. Charles 
had no desire to give up his daughter, whose hand was a 
valuable asset in his diplomacy, and he had no intention of 
submitting to coercion in the choice of a son-in-law. His 
obstinacy compelled the constable and the confederate nobles 
to remain outwardly loyal to the king, though their real aim 
was to reduce the duke to such straits that he must accept 
their terms. An attempt on the part of Charles to recover 
Amiens ended in failure, and the critical struggle in England 
led to a truce in April 147 1, by which the captured towns 
were left in the king's hands. The Yorkist victory seemed 
likely to turn the balance in favour of Burgundy, but, fortu- 
nately for Louis, Edward iv. was resolutely hostile to the 
marriage project put forward by the French princes. It is 
true that a dauphin had been born in 1470, but he was a 
sickly child, and if he died the duke of Guienne would once 
more become heir to the throne, and the possible absorption 
of the vast Burgundian inheritance by the French monarchy 
would be ruinous to English interests and ambition. Sooner 
than allow such a union to be effected Edward would abandon 
Burgundy and join Louis. But Louis was discouraged by 
the failure of his English policy. He knew that he could 
not trust the loyalty of his instruments, and he preferred 
diplomacy to the renewal of a war in which there was little 
prospect of assured gain. So for six months he negotiated 
with Charles, offering to restore Amiens and St. Quentin and 
to abandon St. Pol to the vengeance of his injured suzerain, 
on condition that Charles would give up all connection with 
the dukes of Guienne and Brittany. At last, in the spring of 
1472, Charles announced that he would accept the proffered 
terms. At the same time he privately assured the dukes that 
he only agreed to the treaty in order to recover his own 
possessions, and that he had no intention of deserting them. 
But Louis was not so easily duped. He had received 
intelligence that his brother was hopelessly unwell, and he 

376 European History, 1273- 1494 

adroitly postponed any final agreement until the news came 
Death of tnat tne duke °f Guienne had died on May 24. Of 
Charles of course it was rumoured that so opportune an event 
Guienne. must ^ e j ue tQ contr i V ance rather than to chance, 
but Louis's gains were so substantial that he could afford to 
disregard a suspicion which had no real foundation. Guienne 
reverted to the crown, troops were despatched to invade 
Brittany, and the treaty on which so much time had been 
spent was repudiated. Charles was carried away by rage and 
disappointment. Although the truce was not yet expired he 
crossed the Somme to harry the territories of the French 
king. Nesle was taken and sacked with a brutality unusual 
even in fifteenth century France, and Charles advanced to 
the siege of Beauvais. But his military skill was not equal 
to his indignation, and after a prolonged attack he was com- 
pelled to retreat and to close the campaign by a truce in 
November, 1472. Curiously enough this proved more durable 
than many formal treaties of peace. The truce was renewed 
from time to time, and Charles and Louis never again met 
in open hostility. 

The death of the duke of Guienne proved far more important 

than his life had been. A coalition of the princes of the 

lilies had nearly ruined the monarchy in 1465, 

Altered , _ .*».«. i • 

policy of and the energies of Louis had been taxed ever 
Charles the since to prevent its revived activity. That 
coalition was now wholly broken up. Charles 
the Bold was as hostile as ever to the French king, but he 
was compelled to adopt different means to overthrow his rival. 
Hitherto his primary concern had been with the affairs of 
France. He had appeared to the world as the powerful 
vassal who headed the forces of feudalism to depress the 
authority of his suzerain. Henceforth he turned his chief 
attention from his French to his German provinces, and 
sought to build up a rival kingdom along the valley of the 
Rhine, which might surpass France in wealth and power, and 
might even bring to its ruler the imperial crown. The danger 

Revival of the French Monarchy 377 

to Louis was perhaps as great, but it was wholly different in 
character, and it required wholly different expedients to cope 
with it. That within France the monarchy had gained a 
decisive victory over the forces arrayed against it was recog- 
nised by two of the most subtle intellects of the time. 
Philippe de Commines, the born vassal and the intimate 
adviser of Charles the Bold, had already made the acquaint- 
ance of Louis xi. during the troubled days at Pe'ronne. In 
the autumn of 1472 he deserted his suzerain to enter the 
service of the king, whose character and career he has de- 
scribed in the most important historical work of the century. 
His example was followed by Odet d'Aydie, lord of Lescun, 
who had hitherto been the trusted guide of Charles of Guienne 
and Francis of Brittany. The shrewd Gascon found no 
difficulty in gaining the favour of his new employer, and he 
was rewarded with the title of count of Comminges. 

Already, before 1472, Charles the Bold had taken an 
important step in the direction of territorial aggrandisement 
in Germany. Alsace and the Breisgau, represent- 

, • •••«_ t« • 1- 1 1 Acquisitions 

mg the original Swabian possessions of the house f Charles 
of Hapsburg, had been ruled since 1439 by the Bold in 

I. . r ' & ' . . _ _ . , , _ *X , J Germany. 

Sigismund, son of that tredenck of Tyrol who 
had played a prominent part in the early stages of the Council 
of Constance (see p. 213). Like his ancestors, Sigismund 
had become involved in a quarrel with the members of the 
Swiss confederation, and by a treaty in 1468 he had pledged 
himself to pay to the League a considerable sum of money. 
Unable to raise the sum from his own resources, he had 
applied to Charles the Bold, who agreed to furnish the money 
if Alsace and the Breisgau were handed over to him as 
security. It was more than improbable that the penniless 
count of Tyrol would ever redeem the pledge, and Charles, 
treating the provinces as his own possession, intrusted the 
administration to Peter of Hagenbach. When, in 1472, the 
direct opposition to Louis xi. came to an end, Charles turned 
with avidity to that acquisition of lands in Germany which 

378 European History, 1273- 1494 

was to prove the cause of his ruin. Interfering as arbiter in 
a dispute between father and son in Gelderland, he seized 
the disputed duchy for himself (1473). 1° tne same year 
occurred the death of Nicolas of Calabria, the grandson and 
last male descendant of the old Rene* le Bon. The duchy of 
Lorraine now passed to another grandson, Rend of Vaude- 
mont, who inherited both the Angevin and the Vaudemont 
claim. Lorraine was of peculiar importance to Charles the 
Bold, as it lay between his northern and his southern 
dominions. Although he had no legal claim to interfere, he 
seized the young duke and only released him on condition 
that he should cede four fortresses as a guarantee for the 
free passage of Burgundian forces through Lorraine. Mean- 
while Charles was negotiating with the emperor Frederick m. 
to have his duchy of Burgundy erected into a kingdom, and 
he intended to claim all those territories which at one time 
or another had borne the name of Burgundy. Such a claim 
would have included Savoy, Provence, and several adjacent 
districts. The emperor was to be bribed by the proposal of 
a marriage between his son Maximilian and the heiress of 
these vast dominions present and prospective. An interview 
was arranged at Trier, and Charles brought with him the 
crown that was to be placed on his head. But Frederick m., 
always cautious and rather timid, was alarmed by the ex- 
travagant pretensions of the aspirant to royalty, and he was 
cognisant of a scheme to recover Alsace for his cousin 
Sigismund. So one night the emperor slipped away in a 
boat down the Moselle, leaving the duke the laughing-stock 
of Europe. But this humiliation failed to check Charles's 
ambition, and in 1474 he embarked on a new enterprise. 
The archbishop of Cologne, Robert of Bavaria, deposed ty 
his chapter and his subjects, appealed for assistance to the 
duke of Burgundy, who seized the opportunity to gain on the 
middle Rhine a preponderance similar to that which he had 
acquired in the bishopric of Liege. With a large army 
Charles entered the territories of Cologne, as the champion 

Revival of the French Monarchy 379 

of the archbishop against his rebellious subjects, and laid 
siege to Neuss, a fortress on the Rhine held by the Landgrave 
of Hesse, whose brother had been appointed administrator 
of the diocese. 

The siege of Neuss was one of the great blunders of 
Charles the Bold. He had never shown any skill in siege 
operations, and for a whole year his obstinacy Louis xi. 
kept him before a town which he was ultimately »tirs up 
unable to reduce. During these months his against 
enemies were able to attack with impunity the chariesthe 
extremities of his dominions, and he lost a 
favourable opportunity of weakening his chief opponent 
Louis xi. Louis was frequently urged by his advisers to 
check the aggrandisement of the Burgundian duke by a 
renewal of direct hostilities. But he preferred the more 
subtle policy of allowing his rival to exhaust his strength 
in distant enterprises, while he secretly encouraged the 
resistance of the German princes and people whose interests 
were threatened by Charles's progress. Among the latter 
were the leading members of the Swiss Confederation. They 
had always quarrelled with the Hapsburgs in Alsace, and 
they were not likely to find a less formidable neighbour in 
the duke of Burgundy, whose expansion southwards could 
hardly be effected without destroying their independence. 
The oppressive rule of Peter of Hagenbach, Charles's bailiff 
in Alsace, was bitterly resented by all the cities and towns 
of Swabia, and Bern, now the leading canton of the Con- 
federation, was prominent in demanding redress. Louis 
seized the opportunity to score a notable diplomatic victory. 
He induced Sigismund to demand the restoration of Alsace, 
and he set himself to reconcile the Swiss with their old 
opponent. On March 30, 1474, it was agreed by the Ever- 
lasting Compact that Sigismund should renounce all Haps- 
burg claims within the territory of the League, and that 
the confederates should support him in recovering the 
provinces which had been pledged to Charles. The chief 

380 European History, 1 273- 1494 

Swabian towns furnished the necessary money to redeem 
the pledge, and when Charles took no notice of the demand 
for restitution, Alsace was invaded and Hagenbach was put 
to death (May 9, 1474). After this there was good reason 
to dread the duke's enmity, and a strong party was formed 
within the League which contended that the safest method 
of defence was to anticipate attack. French gold was 
employed to aid and extend this party, which was headed 
by Nicolas von Diesbach of Bern, and the emperor 
Frederick ill. was induced to use his authority to urge on 
a war with Burgundy. In October a treaty was concluded 
with France, and this was followed by a formal defiance 
of Charles and an invasion of Franche-Comte*. 

Charles received the news of these events before Neuss, 
but he refused to abandon the siege, and the only step which 
he took to protect his interests in the south was to conclude 
a close alliance with Yolande of France, the dowager-duchess 
and regent of Savoy. Yolande was the sister of Louis xi., 
but her policy was as independent and self-seeking as that 
of her brother, and she did not scruple to break off the 
intimate alliance between Savoy and France which had 
resulted in her own marriage and that of Louis. She even 
used her influence to detach her brother-in-law, Galeazzo 
Maria Sforza, from France, and to arrange an alliance 
between Milan and Burgundy. But the first result of her 
action was to extend the area of Swiss aggression, and in 
the spring of 1475 Granson, Morat, and other Savoyard 
territories fell into the hands of the confederates. About the 
same time Rene* of Lorraine was induced by the French 
king to repudiate his recent treaty with Charles the Bold 
and to invade the duchy of Luxemburg. So formidable 
was the coalition now formed that Louis sent to Frederick in. 
to propose a partition of the Burgundian territories, the 
French provinces to be escheated to the crown, and the 
German fiefs to be claimed by the emperor. But the 
cautious Hapsburg would not commit himself to so far- 

Revival of the French Monarchy 38 1 

reaching a scheme, and replied that he preferred not to 
bargain about the bear's skin until the beast was dead. 

The position of Charles was one of great danger. He 
was practically at war with the Swiss, with Sigismund of 
Tyrol, with the duke of Lorraine, and with the forces of 
the empire, which he had alienated by his unjustifiable 
intervention in the affairs of Cologne. But Charles knew 
that these enemies were all set in motion by Louis xi., and 
that if he could ruin his arch-opponent the hostile coalition 
would almost certainly fall to pieces. And in 1475 ne na d 
an unequalled chance of dealing a fatal blow Edward IV> 
to the power of France. For years the duke invades 
of Brittany and other opponents of the French France » HW- 
monarchy had been striving to bring about a renewal of 
the English invasion, and at last their efforts were rewarded 
with success. Edward iv., securely established on the English 
throne by the double defeat of the Nevilles and the Lancas- 
trian nobles, determined to resume the ambitious schemes 
of Henry v. and to make himself king of France with the 
aid of Burgundy. In 1474 the terms of the treaty had been 
arranged with Charles, who was to receive as his reward 
Champagne and some smaller districts, together with complete 
emancipation from the suzerainty of France. In the summer 
of 1475 a considerable English army was transported to 
Calais, and Charles at last set himself free to aid his ally 
by retiring from Neuss, and concluding an agreement with 
the emperor by which the Pope was to arbitrate in the 
dispute about Cologne. The truce between Burgundy and 
France had expired on May 1, and Charles had refused 
all the entreaties of Louis for its prolongation. But all the 
hopes which Charles had based upon the intervention of 
England were doomed to disappointment. Edward iv. was 
immensely chagrined when Charles arrived alone at Calais, 
having sent his army from Neuss to chastise the duke of 
Lorraine. St. Pol, who had offered to admit the English 
into St Quentin, fired upon the approaching forces from 

382 European History, 1 273-1 494 

behind the closed gates. The French monarchy was in- 
finitely stronger in 1475 tnan i* had Deen ln r 4 T 5> an d 
Edward iv. was shrewd enough to see that with such support 
as he received from professed allies the conquest of France 
was impossible. Louis on his side was not slow to profit 
by the obvious discouragement of the invaders, and promptly 
opened negotiations which resulted in a personal interview 
at Pecquigni on the Somme. In return for a large sum 
of money and a promise that the dauphin should marry 
his daughter Elizabeth, Edward agreed to withdraw from 
France. Charles was furious at what he denounced as 
treacherous desertion, but his own conduct had been so 
obviously selfish that his complaints were treated as un- 
reasonable, and he was compelled to renew his former truce 
with Louis xi. 

The failure of the English invasion and the renewal of 
peaceful relations between France and Burgundy proved 
Fate of fatal to St. Pol, who had succeeded for five years 

St. Pol. m maintaining a practically independent position 

in Picardy. He had been profoundly disappointed by the 
termination of active hostilities in 1472, but he still trusted 
in his ability to play off one rival against the other, and 
he was confident that their mutual jealousy would never 
allow them to act together against him. For a time his 
forecast had been justified. In 1472 it had been proposed 
that Louis and Charles should unite to punish the constable, 
but the scheme had broken down, because neither would 
trust the other. In 1475 tne proposal was renewed. St. 
Pol's recent conduct, and especially his relations with 
Edward iv. who handed over to Louis the constable's 
correspondence, had created a strong desire to punish the 
man who betrayed and deceived everybody in turn. Charles 
was to have St. Quentin, Ham, and Bohain, with all the 
fiefs which St. Pol held of him, on condition that he would 
undertake to capture the constable and either punish him 
within eight days or hand him over to the king. On the 

Revival of the French Monarchy 383 

news of this treaty St. Pol determined to trust Charles 
rather than Louis, partly because he believed him to be 
less vindictive, and partly because after his territories were 
in Charles's hands the latter had little to gain by inflicting 
any further penalty. Charles was besieging Nanci when his 
ministers sent word that the constable was in their hands. 
Charles was anxious to avoid any French opposition in 
Lorraine and he sent instructions that if Nanci held out 
beyond November 24, St. Pol was to be handed over to 
the French, but if it were taken before that date they were 
to keep him in their hands. Nanci did not surrender till 
after the time had elapsed, but Charles began to think 
that his order had been hasty and that St. Pol might still 
be useful to him in his quarrel with France. His instruc- 
tions to delay the transfer, however, came too late, as the 
Burgundian ministers, many of whom had a personal grudge 
against St. Pol, had punctually obeyed the original order. 
Louis was not unwilling to show that neither rank, nor 
royal relationship, nor eminent office could save a rebel 
against the crown, and St. Pol, of whose treason there was 
ample proof, was executed in Paris on December 19, 


At the end of 1475 Charles the Bold seemed to be at the 
height of his power. He was at peace both with the emperor 
and the king of France. Since the submission of Ghent he 
had met with no opposition from his subjects in the Nether- 
lands. The fall of St. Pol had restored his complete 
ascendency in Picardy. Savoy and Milan were apparently 
loyal and almost submissive allies. The aged Rene of 
Provence, who had never loved the house of Vaudemont, 
expressed his willingness to disinherit his only surviving 
grandson in favour of the duke of Burgundy. Above all, 
Charles had at last succeeded in uniting the two main 
divisions of his realm by the conquest of Lorraine, and he 
determined to make Nanci the capital of the Burgundian 
kingdom that seemed now to be within his grasp. His one 

384 European History \ 1273- 1494 

immediate task was to recover the province of Alsace, and 
to punish the Swiss, not only for aiding to restore Sigismund, 
Charles's war ^ ut a * s0 * OT tneu " r *ids upon his own territories 
with the and those of his allies. His troops were ex- 
Swiss, 1476. h auste cl by their exertions in the long siege of 
Neuss and the subsequent conquest of Lorraine; but his 
resources, both in men and money, were so infinitely superior 
to those of his opponents that it was hardly possible to doubt 
his ultimate victory. The Swiss had begun the war as the 
allies of the emperor and the French king, but they were now 
deserted by both. In February 1476 Charles crossed the 
Jura to drive the Swiss from the districts they had seized in 
Savoy. Granson, a town near the lake of Neuchatel, which 
was held by the house of Orange as a fief of Savoy, was taken 
by the Burgundians, and the garrison was put to death. 
Two days later the confederates arrived, and at once began 
the attack. Charles ordered a portion of his army to retire 
to the plain where he could use his superior cavalry. But 
the retirement became a panic-stricken retreat, and the Swiss, 
pressing their advance, gained a complete and easy victory 
(March 2, 1476). Granson was recovered, and the Bur- 
gundian camp and artillery were the prize of the conquerors. 
So humiliating a disaster was the more galling to Charles 
that it shook the fidelity of his allies. The succession in 
Provence upon which he had confidently reckoned, was now 
transferred by Rene* to the French king. Galeazzo Maria 
Sforza opened negotiations with Louis, and even Yolande of 
Savoy began to contemplate the possibility of a reconciliation 
with her brother. But Savoy could hardly desert Charles as 
long as there was a prospect of recovering the lost lands with 
his help ; and the Burgundian power was not destroyed by a 
single disaster. Within a few weeks a new army had been 
collected at Lausanne, and Charles advanced to the siege of 
Morat, which the Bernese had taken from the Count of 
Romont, a brother of the late duke of Savoy. The Swiss 
hastily reassembled the troops, which had been disbanded 

Revival of the French Monarchy 385 

after their recent success in spite of the warnings of Bern. 
On June 22, an obstinate, and for a long time, a very equal 
contest was fought out under the walls of Morat. At last the 
Swiss gained a decisive advantage by turning the flank of the 
Burgundian army ; and the very obstinacy with which the 
latter fought only served to make their losses heavier. 
Nearly two-thirds of Charles's forces were practically annihi 
lated, and the final desertion of his allies, combined with the 
disaffection of his own subjects, rendered it hopeless to renew 
the struggle. Savoy made peace with the Swiss, through the 
mediation of France ; and Granson, Morat, and other towns 
of Vaud became subject to the Confederation. Charles retired 
into gloomy solitude near Pontarlier, and it was feared that 
his reason would give way as he cursed the ill-fortune which 
had humbled so powerful a prince before a despicable foe. 
He was roused from his retreat by the news that Lorraine 
was lost to him. The young Rene had joined the Swiss in 
the battle of Morat, and had proceeded after the victory to 
raise a force with which he had recovered Nanci. Charles 
hurriedly collected a third army, and, in spite of the winter 
cold, commenced a second siege of the town which he had 
destined to be his capital. The scanty garrison Death of 
could not long have resisted the attack, but Rene Charles the 
appealed for the assistance of the Swiss, and they Bold * 
sent 20,000 men to raise the siege. The Italian mercenaries, 
in whom Charles placed great confidence, were headed 
by the count of Campobasso, a Neapolitan who had 
been driven into exile for his adhesion to the house of 
Anjou. Of that house Rene of Lorraine might now claim 
to be the lawful heir; and Campobasso was induced to 
desert his master in favour of the family to which his first 
allegiance was due. This treachery placed Charles at a 
fatal disadvantage, and he had to fight between the be- 
sieged and the relieving forces. But his dogged character 
would not allow him to retreat, and in a third contest with 
the despised German Confederation the great Valois duke 


386 European History \ 1273- 1494 

of Burgundy found an obscure and unhonoured death 
(January 5, 1477). 

Louis xi. had watched the events of the last twelve months, 
at first with anxiety, and later with feverish attention. Ever 
T «.,?» —4— since his accession he had been haunted by the 

Louis seizes ' 

Burgundian sense of Charles's hostility, and the dangers which 
territories. ^ involved ; and now his great rival had been 
slain by the agency of an unforeseen and apparently unequal 
opponent. The only claimant of the vast inheritance left 
vacant by the death of Charles the Bold was an unmarried 
girl of twenty-one years. Various schemes were debated in 
the royal council as to the best way of profiting by so favour- 
able a contingency. One very obvious plan was to effect a 
marriage between Mary of Burgundy and the dauphin. But 
there were several objections to this. The dauphin was only 
in his eighth year ; he was already betrothed to an English 
princess, and Edward iv. was not likely either to pardon an 
insult to his daughter, or to acquiesce in the absorption of 
the Burgundian inheritance by the French monarchy. To 
the alternative scheme of marrying Mary to a French noble 
of royal blood, such as Charles of Angouleme, it could be 
objected that the new dynasty thus created might be as 
dangerous and disloyal as that to which it would succeed. 
Louis determined to keep the possibility of either marriage 
as a card to be played, if necessary or expedient, but in the 
meantime to take measures for the occupation of those 
Burgundian territories which France could acquire without 
serious opposition. The revival of such a power as that of 
Charles might be prevented, and the adhesion of German 
princes might be purchased, by a partition of the fiefs which 
the late duke had held of the empire. No preparations had 
been made to resist Louis, and his promptness ensured a con- 
siderable measure of success. He had an unquestionable 
claim to the Somme towns, whose transfer had been limited 
to male heirs ; and the duchy of Burgundy could be reason- 
ably claimed as an escheated fief. But Flanders, Artois, and 

Revival of the French Monarchy 387 

Franche-Comte had come to the Burgundian house through 
an heiress, so that Mary's right of succession could hardly be 
disputed. Regardless of this consideration, and of the fact 
that Franche-Comte was an imperial fief, Louis proceeded 
with the work of annexation. Both the duchy and the 
county of Burgundy submitted to French rule. From 
Picardy, which returned willingly to its former allegiance, 
the forces of Louis entered Artois and succeeded in reducing 
its capital, Arras. 

The occupation of Artois brought the French to the frontiei 
of Flanders, the most wealthy and important of the Burgundian 
possessions. The Flemish citizens, and especially Conduct 
those of Ghent, where Mary of Burgundy was of the 
residing, were not likely to allow the choice of Flemm ^ ,> 
their future ruler to be settled without their participation. 
Their policy in the matter was quite distinct. They had 
hated Burgundian rule and the Burgundian ministers whom 
Charles and his predecessors had appointed to govern them. 
As long as their sovereign had been a mere count of Flanders, 
they had enjoyed a large measure of independence and self- 
government, but they had lost this under the too powerful 
Valois dynasty. They therefore welcomed the occupation of 
the Burgundies, and had no objection to a further weakening 
of Mary's inheritance. But they would not be annexed to 
France, and the aggressive measures of Louis xi. drove them 
into opposition to him. The Burgundian ministers, whom 
Charles had left in authority, were seized by the mob on the 
discovery that they were conducting separate negotiations 
with France, and in spite of the passionate entreaties of 
Mary, were put to death. The plan that commended itself 
to the people of Ghent was to marry Mary to Adolf of 
Gelderland, the youthful monster who had been imprisoned 
and disinherited for brutal ill-treatment of his father. Adolf 
was released and sent to oppose the French before Tournay ; 
where, to Mary's great relief, he was killed in an unsuccessful 
attempt to relieve the town. This event, and the necessity 

388 European History, 1273- 1494 

of gaining support against the encroachments of France, forced 
the Gantois to revive the scheme of marrying Mary to 
Maximilian of Hapsburg, the son of the emperor 
marries '^ Frederick in. Mary herself, naturally frightened 
Mary of an d aggrieved by the conduct of Louis since her 

.urgun y. fe^g,.^ d ea th, was not averse to the proposal, 
and the marriage was solemnised in August 1477. Louis was 
extremely chagrined by the news of an event, which not only 
frustrated his plans for a further partition of the Burgundian 
inheritance, but also compelled him to fight for the provinces 
he had already seized. Maximilian undertook the champion- 
ship of his wife's claims with his usual impetuosity. But he 
was hampered by his want of money — Commines calls his 
father ' the most perfectly niggardly man of his time ' — and 
Dy the obstruction of the Flemish citizens, who had taken 
advantage of the weak government since Charles the Bold's 
death to recover much of their old independence. In 1482 
Mary died, leaving two infant children, Philip and Margaret 
This was a great blow to Maximilian, who had no longer any 
formal authority in the Netherlands, except so far as the 
estates of the various provinces recognised him as his son's 
guardian. In these circumstances he was not unwilling to 
Treaty of come to terms with Louis, and the treaty of Arras 
Arras, 1482. g ave to the king most of the territories he had 
contended for. The dauphin, Charles, was to be betrothed 
to Margaret, the daughter of Maximilian and Mary, and she 
was to be brought up in France as its future queen. Artois 
and Franche Comte were to be regarded as her dowry. The 
treaty made no mention of the Somme towns or of the duchy 
of Burgundy, and thus tacitly conceded Louis's contention 
that his legal rights to these provinces were indisputable. It 
was fortunate for Louis that Edward iv., who had good reason 
to regard this treaty as both injurious and insulting, was not 
able to give practical expression to his displeasure. He died 
in 1483, and the disturbances which followed kept England 
from any idea of intervention on the Continent. But though 

Revival of the Ft ench Monarchy 389 

the treaty of Arras appears, at first sight, to be a considerable 
triumph for the policy of Louis, the permanent gain to the 
French monarchy was not very great. Artois and Franche- 
Comte were lost again before very long ; and the annexation 
of the Netherlands to the Hapsburg possessions, together 
with the subsequent further aggrandisement of that house, 
involved France in even greater dangers than those which 
had been threatened by the Valois dukes of Burgundy. But 
the subsequent struggle which thus arose differed from its 
predecessor in one very important respect. The Hapsburgs 
of Spain and Austria were more powerful sovereigns than 
Philip the Good or Charles the Bold, but they were com- 
plete foreigners to France, and had none of that traditional 
and family alliance with French nobles and French parties 
which gave to the Valois-Burgundian dynasty such a unique 
position. The contest with the Hapsburgs served to 
strengthen, not to destroy, the national unity of France. 

The relations with Burgundy constitute by far the most 
important episode of the reign of Louis xi. ; and he could 
boast of no more conspicuous achievement than successes of 
the defeat of Charles the Bold, and the annexa- Louis XI - 
tion of a considerable share of his dominions. But he gained 
other successes and acquired other lands. By intervening to 
support John II. of Aragon against the rebellious Catalans 
(1462), he obtained the cession of Roussillon and Cerdagne, 
and for a time extended the French frontier to the Pyrenees. 
And the Angevin inheritance was almost as great a windfall to 
the monarchy as the duchy of Burgundy. Rene le Bon had 
hastily abandoned the cause of Charles the Bold, after the 
latter's defeats in 1476; and Louis xi. succeeded in extort- 
ing from his uncle an arrangement by which the latter's terri- 
tories were to pass, in the first place, to his nephew, Charles of 
Maine, and on the extinction of his line to the crown. The 
successive deaths of Rene in 1480 and of Charles of Maine in 
1 48 1, gave to Louis the possession of Anjou and Maine, with 
the duchy of Bar and the imperial fief of Provence. Equally 

390 European History, 1273-1494 

Important, from the point of view of the French monarchy, 
were the signal humiliations inflicted by Louis upon the great 
feudatories who had ventured, in the early years of his reign, 
to identify themselves with the cause of opposition to the 
monarchy. The duke of Alencon was kept a prisoner till his 
death in 1476. The count of Armagnac, the restless leader 
of the southern nobles, was attacked in his chief town of 
Lectoure and perished in the sack which followed its capture. 
His cousin, the duke of Nemours, who had been a favourite 
companion of Louis in his youth and had since been twice 
pardoned for ungrateful treachery, was executed in 1477 
after having suffered the most horrible tortures. The fate 
of St. Pol has been already related. With regard to the 
nobles who were more closely related to the royal family, 
Louis took precautions to ensure their loyalty or to disarm 
their opposition. The duke of Bourbon abstained from 
further rebellion after the War of the Public Weal. His 
brother and heir, Pierre de Beaujeu, was married to the 
king's eldest daughter, Anne, with the proviso that if they 
left no male heirs the succession should pass to the crown. 
For Louis of Orleans, the heir-presumptive to the throne 
after the dauphin, a bride was found in another daughter, 
Jeanne, who was deformed in person and was regarded as 
unlikely to have issue. 

The government of Louis xi., though in many ways 
advantageous to France, was too obviously selfish to be 
Regency of popular. His death in August, 1483, transferred 
Anne of the crown to his only son, Charles vin., but as 

he was too young to rule, the actual government 
was assumed by Anne of Beaujeu. She had much of her 
father's ability and all his love of power, but her position 
was insecure and she was obliged to conciliate support by 
measures which Louis xi. would never have adopted. The 
States -general were convoked at Tours in January 1484, 
and for the first time the rural districts were represented in 
the third estate, which had hitherto included only delegates 

Revival of the French Monarchy 391 

from the towns. Although the estates recognised the regent, 
their cahier of grievances showed an obvious hostility to 
the despotic rule of the late king. Among other things 
they demanded that they should meet regularly every second 
year. But the States-general, having lost all efficient control 
over taxation, had no power to extort concessions, and the 
crown reserved absolute discretion as to the redress of 
grievances. A more serious danger to Anne was a coalition 
of nobles, including the duke of Brittany and headed by 
Louis of Orleans, who deemed it a wrong that he was 
excluded from the regency. There was some risk that the 
confederates might receive support from Richard in. of 
England, who had good reason to divert the attention of his 
subjects to a foreign war, and from Rene* of Lorraine, who 
advanced a well-founded claim to his grandfather's dominions 
of Bar and Provence. Anne of Beaujeu showed notable 
ability in meeting her opponents. To prevent English in- 
tervention, Henry of Richmond, whose mother was the 
last of the Beauforts, was encouraged to prosecute the 
enterprise which placed the house of Tudor on the throne 
(1485). The duke of Lorraine was partially satisfied by the 
cession of Bar, and the prospect of gaining Provence was 
dangled before his eyes in an artfully prolonged law-suit, 
which was not decided against him until all danger was 
over. Meanwhile, the princes, deprived of external aid, 
proved powerless to resist the forces of the crown. The 
Bretons were defeated, and Louis of Orleans, carried a 
prisoner to Bourges, found it to his interest to reconcile 
himself with his cousin. 

A few days after the defeat of the Bretons the death of 
duke Francis 11. extinguished the male line of the Montforts, 
and left the one great province which had re- Succession 
tained its old independence in the hands of his in Britta ny- 
daughter Anne (September 9, 1488). The disposal of the 
hand of so important an heiress was naturally a matter of 
great political interest, and Anne of Beaujeu, who wished 

392 European History, 1273- 1494 

to use the opportunity for the gain of the monarchy, was 
chagrined to learn in 1490 that the young duchess had been 
married by proxy to Maximilian of Austria, who had been 
a widower since the death of Mary of Burgundy. Declaring 
the marriage to be null without royal consent, she despatched 
an army into Brittany, and Anne of Brittany was compelled 
to give her hand to Charles vin. A double injury was 
thus inflicted upon Maximilian. Not only was he deprived 
of a wife, but his daughter, who had been educated in France 
since 1482 as the future queen, was sent back to him. The 
archduke, however, was too distant and too busy elsewhere 
to be immediately formidable, and it was worth while to 
risk his displeasure in order to secure possession of Brittany. 
But the children of Charles vm. and Anne did not survive 
their parents, and two subsequent marriages were necessary 
before the union of Brittany with France was complete. 

The marriage of the king was the last achievement of Anne 
of Beaujeu, whose regency came to an end when her brother 
The question assumed the reins of government, while she her- 
of Naples. se jf became duchess of Bourbon by the death 
of her brother-in-law. In 1493 a wholly new problem was 
presented to the French government by the arrival of 
Neapolitan exiles with an invitation to Charles vin. to claim 
the crown of Naples on the same grounds as he already held 
Provence. The late regent and the more experienced coun- 
cillors were resolute in opposing the scheme. But Charles 
himself and his younger associates were dazzled by the 
prospect of an Italian kingdom, and the proffered support 
of Ludovico Sforza seemed to give a reasonable prospect 
of success. Before Charles could venture to quit his king- 
dom it was necessary to secure it against the hostility of 
jealous neighbours. Henry vn. of England, who had come 
forward as the champion of Anne of Brittany, was bought 
off by the peace of Etaples which offered him a large 
money bribe (1492). The treaty of Barcelona restored 
Roussillon and Cerdagne to Ferdinand of Aragon (January 

Revival of the French Monarchy 393 

'493) > while the enmity of Maximilian was appeased by 
he treaty of Senlis and the cession of Artois and Franche- 
Domte\ which had been the stipulated dowry of Margaret 
;May 23, 1493). * n September 1494, Charles set out on 
his journey towards the Alps. The resources of the revived 
French monarchy were to be employed in an enterprise of 
which no one could foresee the end, but which was destined 
to usher in a new epoch in the history of Europe. 



German disunion in the fifteenth century — The House of Hapsburg — The 
succession in Hungary and Bohemia — The Imperial election in 1438 — 
Death of Albert II.— Election of Frederick ill.— Death of Frederick I. of 
Brandenburg — Futile opposition in Germany to the Emperor and the 
Papacy — Frederick III. at war with the Swiss — Sigismund of Tyrol — 
Succession to Albert II. in Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia — Ladislas 
Postumus — Relief of Belgrade and death of John Hunyadi — Death of 
Ladislas Postumus — Austria falls to the Styrian Hapsburgs — Election of 
Mathias Corvinus in Hungary and of George Podiebrad in Bohemia — 
War between Hungary and Bohemia — Relations of Frederick in. with 
Burgundy— Hungarian conquests in Austria— Last years and death of 
Frederick ill. 

In the history of three of the great countries of Europe, 

France, England, and Spain, the fifteenth century marks a 

decisive epoch in the growth both of national 

Disunion . . , . . _ _ 

and weak- unity and of monarchical government. In France 
nessof t h e civil strife of Armagnacs and Burgundians 

and the long struggle against the English pre- 
pared the way for the rule of Charles vn. and Louis xi. In 
England the Wars of the Roses ended with the accession 
of a powerful Tudor dynasty. In Spain national sentiment 
was kindled by the anti-Moorish crusades, and the union 
of the chief kingdoms by the marriage of Ferdinand and 
Isabella led to the great expansion of Spain under the 
despotic rule of Charles i. and Philip 11. The history of 
Germany resembles that of its neighbours up to a certain 
point. Anarchy and disorder were as conspicuous there as 
they were in France under Charles vi., or under Henry vi. 


Germany and the Haps burg Emperors 395 

in England. The schism which filled the first decade of the 
century both illustrated and increased the weakness and 
the degradation of the once powerful German monarchy. 
But in Germany no remedy was found for political and 
social disunion. No ruler arose with the strength and the 
resolution that were needed to transform a vague suzerainty 
into a territorial monarchy, as Charles iv. had schemed to 
do. On the contrary, there was a marked decline of 
imperial authority, which reached its nadir in the reign of 
Frederick HI. The impulsive Sigismund had striven for a 
moment to revive the Ghibelline tradition, and he seemed 
to have made a considerable stride when, in 141 5, he 
humbled the pride of Frederick of Tyrol, and rewarded the 
loyalty of Frederick of Hohenzollern with the electoral Mark 
of Brandenburg. But Sigismund's imperial ambitions were 
bound up with the cause of the reforming party at Con- 
stance, and he was discouraged and disconcerted by its 
failure. From that time he abandoned the interests of 
Germany to devote himself to the affairs of Bohemia and 
Hungary. The party which had rallied round him at Con- 
stance, deserted by their natural leader, endeavoured to give 
to Germany a new central government which should take 
the place of the decadent monarchy. A series of ignomi- 
nious defeats by the Hussites enabled them to carry through 
the diet some tentative reforms in 1427. There was to be 
a system of imperial taxation, an imperial army, and a 
standing representative council to wield the executive power 
which the emperors had allowed to fall from their hands. 
But the projected reforms ended in failure. The sense of 
nationality was not strong enough to overcome the selfish 
independence of states and classes. The two last crusades 
against the Bohemians were even more humiliating to 
Germany than their predecessors. 

That the disunion of Germany was a source of many evils 
and of serious dangers was apparent even to the pro- 
verbial blindness of contemporaries The dependence of 

396 European History, 1 273-1494 

Italy had become the merest name. Even Milan, which 
under the Visconti was most closely connected with Germany, 
was about to pass to the Sforzas, who did not think it worth 
while even to apply for imperial investiture. North of the 
Alps, Lyons and Dauphine* had long been absorbed by 
France. Provence and Lorraine were in the hands of a 
French dynasty, and before the end of the century the 
former had been acquired by the French crown. Savoy 
was more independent of France, but hardly more closely 
tied to Germany. The Old League of High Germany, as 
the Swiss confederation was then called, had paraded devo- 
tion to the empire as a means of resisting the claims of the 
Hapsburgs, but the cantons really desired freedom from all 
external control, and by the end of the century they had 
practically acquired it. Franche - Comte was ruled by a 
Valois duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good, who was absorb- 
ing one after the other a number of imperial fiefs in the Low 
Countries. The Scandinavian kingdoms, strengthened for a 
time by the union of Kalmar, were beginning to recover their 
previous losses, and the Hanseatic League, the champion 
of German interests in the Baltic and the North Sea, was 
no longer at the height of its power. In the north-east, 
the Teutonic knights had been fatally weakened by the 
union of Poland and Lithuania, and since the battle of 
Tannenberg in 141 o were waging what seemed to be a 
hopeless struggle against the powerful Jagellon kings. The 
danger of a general Slav revolt against German encroach- 
ments had been brought even more nearly home to the 
princes of Germany by the long Bohemian war. It is true 
that the extreme Hussites had been defeated in 1434, but it 
was by their own countrymen ; and the sentiment of 
national independence, which was necessarily anti-German, 
was almost as strong as ever. And in the south-east a 
new and far more terrible danger was approaching. The 
Turks had already established themselves in the Balkan 
peninsula, and threatened to sweep up the Danube valley. 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 397 

Hungary was the only substantial guard to the German 
frontier; and if Hungarian resistance failed, it was hardly 
likely that the German troops, impotent to crush the ill- 
armed followers of Ziska, would be able to resist the all- 
conquering Janissaries. 

Losses on the extremities were the inevitable result of 
weakness at the centre. But although this weakness con- 
tinued, Germany escaped from some of the extreme disasters 
which seemed almost inevitable. It is possible that a too 
vigorous attempt to bring about a compulsory union might 
have broken the state up into its component parts, and 
Germany, like Italy, might have become a mere geographical 
expression. That this complete disruption was avoided, and 
that Germany retained at any rate some symbols of unity, 
may be attributed, partly to the very looseness of the federal 
tie, which was so little felt that it was hardly worth while to 
make an effort for its rupture, and partly to the extraordinary 
series of events which enabled a single family, the House of 
Hapsburg, to obtain a sort of hereditary primacy within 
Germany. In view of the danger threatened by Slavs and 
Turks, it was of supreme importance that Germany should 
retain its hold upon the border states of Bohemia and 
Hungary, which had been gained by Sigismund. But with 
Sigismund's death in 1437 the male line of the House 
of Luxemburg became extinct, and the family was only 
represented by two women — Sigismund's own daughter, 
Elizabeth, who was married to Albert v. of Austria, and 
his niece, another Elizabeth, the widow of Antony of 
Brabant. [See Genealogical Table, E.] 

Although Albert of Austria might claim through his wife 
the succession to the Luxemburg inheritance, the most 
sanguine of contemporary observers could hardly The House 
have foretold that the Hapsburgs would bring ofHaps- 
even partial salvation to Germany. Since the burg ' 
first great expansion of the family under Rudolf 1. and his 
immediate successors, its power and prestige had sensibly 

398 European History \ 1 273- 1494 

diminished. This had been caused, partly by defeats at 
the hands of the Swiss, and partly by the subdivision of 
Hapsburg territories effected in 1370 between the two 
brothers, Albert in. and Leopold in. (see p. 13 7). Albert 
had taken the archduchy of Austria, and Leopold the other 
territories of the House — the Swabian lands, Styria, Carinthia, 
Carniola, and Tyrol. The Albertine line in Austria had 
been continued by the successive rulers Albert iv. (d. 1404) 
and Albert v. The history of the Leopoldine line had been 
less simple. Leopold himself had fallen in 1386 in the 
famous battle of Sempach, and had left his dominions to the 
joint rule of four sons — William, Leopold, Ernest, and 
Frederick. But the first precedent of subdivision was again 
followed, and in the end the two surviving sons, Ernest and 
Frederick, shared the inheritance between them. Ernest, 
the founder of the Styrian, and ultimately the dominant, 
branch of the House, was called 'the Iron' on account 
of his physical strength, and his marriage with Cymburga, 
a niece of the Polish king, is said to have brought the 
famous Hapsburg lip into the family. On his death in 
1424 his two sons, Frederick and Albert, succeeded as joint 
rulers to Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola. Meanwhile 
Frederick, who had received Tyrol and the Swabian lands, 
had played a prominent part in the early stages of the Council 
of Constance, and his territories had been confiscated by 
Sigismund in 141 5. But the imperial authority was not 
strong enough to make the penalty permanent, and in 141 7 
Frederick recovered his dominions with the approval and 
aid of his subjects. He lived till 1439, when he left a young 
son, Sigismund, to succeed him. 

The death of the Emperor Sigismund gave rise to three 
problems of considerable magnitude. It extinguished a 
Succession dynasty which had held the imperial crown for 
in Hungary nearly a whole century, and it opened the suc- 
andBonema. cess i on m tw0 kingdoms which were of supreme 
importance to Germany in her relations with the Slavs on 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 399 

one hand and with the Turks on the other. The House of 
Luxemburg had built up a unique territorial power on the 
eastern frontier of the empire, and it was very doubtful if 
it could be retained by any other family. In Hungary 
little opposition was made to the accession of Albert v. 
of Austria, who had already won a reputation in the Turkish 
wars for valour and sagacity. But before his coronation 
he had to promise to refuse the imperial crown if it should 
be offered to him, a stipulation which shows how little 
the Hungarians valued the connection with Germany. 
In Bohemia, Albert had identified himself with the 
orthodox party, and could reckon on its support. But the 
Hussites, still a majority of the population, were resolutely 
opposed to him, not only on religious grounds, but also 
because his accession would continue the hated German 
domination, and his claim ran counter to their contention 
that the Bohemian crown was elective. The result was a 
renewal of civil war. Albert was accepted and crowned by 
his partisans, while the Hussites sought to gain the general 
support of the Slavs by offering the crown to Casimir, the 
brother of Ladislas of Poland. 

Meanwhile the electors in Germany had to fill the imperial 
throne. The reforming party, which had been stirred to 
activity by the disasters of the Hussite war, was Election of 
still in existence and still headed by Frederick of Albert n. , 
Hohenzollern. If they could control the election, I338 ' 
it might be possible to return to the policy which Sigismund 
had pursued in his early years. Their desire was to choose 
a prince whose interests lay within Germany and not outside, 
and who would sacrifice any personal or family considera- 
tions for the general welfare. The candidate whom they 
put forward was Frederick of Hohenzollern himself, who had 
already given an example within Brandenburg of that reform- 
ing activity which was needed to put an end to the selfish 
and distracting divisions of Germany. But the majority 
of the German princes were little influenced by patriotic 

400 European History, 1273- 1494 

considerations. They valued independence far higher than 
unity. It was no grievance to them that Sigismund had 
neglected Germany since 141 7, and had busied himself with 
affairs in Bohemia and Hungary. They turned their eyes to 
Albert v. of Austria, who seemed to occupy precisely the 
same position as Sigismund had held in his later years. His 
immediate objects lay so far outside the empire that he was 
not likely to interfere with princely independence, while the 
pursuit of his own interests in the east might indirectly render 
no small service to Germany. Another and perhaps decisive 
argument in Albert's favour was that he had adopted that 
policy of neutrality in the struggle between Pope and Council 
which commended itself to most of the German princes. 
When the Electoral College met in March 1438, it was 
speedily evident that Albert had a secure majority in his 
favour, and Frederick of Brandenburg gracefully withdrew 
hi-s candidature in order to allow the election to be unani- 
mous. The election does not bulk very largely in either 
contemporary or later narrative, but it was really of quite 
decisive importance. Until the fall of the Holy Roman 
Empire in 1806, with the exception of one short interval in 
the eighteenth century, the Hapsburgs retained practically 
hereditary possession of the imperial crown. Under them 
Germany became a loose and ineffective federation, held 
together by tradition and habit and by the ascendency of a 
dynasty which showed remarkable astuteness and obstinacy 
in the pursuit of its own interests. The monarchy of the 
Ottos and the Hohenstaufen had ceased to exist, and the 
traditions of Ghibellinism became an anachronism after 
1438. The choice in that year lay between a Hapsburg and 
a Hohenzollern ; and it is of more than superficial interest 
to note that when the empire of the Hapsburgs had come 
to an end, when the evils of disunion had at last worked 
their own cure, the first attempt to revive German unity was 
the election of a Hohenzollern to the throne which the 
Hapsburgs had failed to fill. 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 401 

Albert II., as he is called in the list of emperors, only 
accepted the proffered dignity with considerable reluctance, 
and was never able to visit Germany, even for the Death of 
purpose of being crowned. His first occupation Albert II- 
was to enforce his claim in Bohemia against his rival, the 
Polish prince Casimir. With the aid of a German force, 
Albert laid siege to Tabor, which was still the great Hussite 
stronghold. The besiegers were repulsed by a sally headed 
by a young Bohemian noble, George Podiebrad ; and though 
Albert was more successful in Silesia, where there was a large 
German element in the population, the fate of Bohemia was 
still doubtful when he was called away by the news that the 
Turks had invaded Servia and were threatening Hungary. 
Leaving his representatives with instructions to patch up a 
truce with Poland, Albert hurried to meet this new danger. 
But he wholly failed to relieve Semendria, and his troops 
were decimated by dysentery contracted in the marshy valley 
of the Theiss. Albert himself was attacked by the disease, 
and hurried homeward in the hope of seeing his capital and 
his wife once more. On the way he learned that his cause 
in Bohemia was jeopardised by treachery, that the Council of 
Basel had revived the schism by electing Felix v. as anti- 
pope, and that the Turks were advancing upon Belgrad, the 
key of Hungary. At this crisis, when disaster or ruin seemed 
imminent from every side, Albert succumbed to disease just 
as he had reached the outskirts of Vienna (October 27, 1439). 
His death seemed to make the general confusion worse con- 
founded. Not only was the empire again left without a 
head, but the recently-established connection of Austria with 
Hungary and Bohemia was dissolved before it had had time to 
gain any strength, and it was extremely doubtful whether it 
would ever be restored. The only children born to Albert 
and Elizabeth were two daughters, but Elizabeth was pregnant 
at the time of her husband's death, and until the child was 
born any question of hereditary right must remain in abey- 
ance. It will perhaps be clearer to consider the imperial 

402 European History ', 1 273-1494 

election and the general history of Germany before turning 
to the tangled series of events which ensued in Albert's 
personal dominions. 

The election of 1438 was too recent for any marked 
change to have taken place in the balance of parties, and the 
Election of principles which had then prevailed were re-affirmed 
Frederick in. m I440 ^th even g rea t e r emphasis. In choosing 
Albert the electors could argue with some force that they 
were giving the imperial office to the strongest candidate. 
Albert was the legitimate successor of the late emperor, and 
he was a powerful prince. Not only was he archduke of 
Austria, but he had been crowned king in Hungary and 
Bohemia, and though he was opposed in the latter country 
he had a better claim than his opponent. Moreover, his 
personal character and his past achievements commanded 
general respect. None of these arguments could be advanced 
in favour of Frederick of Styria, who was now brought forward 
by the electors who had supported Albert. In his father's 
territories of Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola he was only joint 
ruler with his brother Albert. He was barely twenty-four 
years old, so that little was known of his character and 
abilities, but he had given no proof either of energy or capa- 
city for affairs. But these considerations had no weight with 
men who desired only a King Log, and Frederick was chosen 
by five votes to two on February 2, 1440. The rival candi- 
date was Lewis of Hesse, who was put forward and supported 
by Frederick of Brandenburg. Events had convinced the latter 
that in face of the jealous hostility of the house of Wettin 
neither he nor any member of his family had a chance of success. 

His vote on this occasion was almost the last public act 
of the first Hohenzollern elector of Brandenburg, though he 
_ u . received one more proof of the esteem in which 

Death of r 

Frederick i. he was held. A council of forty-seven was formed 

(rfBranden- j n t hi s ye ar to choose a new king for Bohemia. 

Ten votes were split among several candidates, 

while thirty-seven were given for Margrave Frederick. But 

Germany and the Hapsbtirg Emperors 403 

he was too old and too weary to entertain any new ambitions, 
and the flattering offer was declined. On September 21, 1440, 
he died, leaving his territories to the joint rule of his four 
sons. For nearly fifty years, ever since he saved Sigismund's 
life in the battle of Nicopolis, he had played a foremost part 
in German politics. He had met with failures as well as 
triumphs, but he had always secured respect, both for 
distinguished ability and for purity of motive. He was the 
last champion of the grand imperial traditions, which had 
really perished at the time of the Great Interregnum, though 
Henry vn. and, at one time, Sigismund had made an effort 
for their revival. It was fitting that Frederick should die in 
the year in which the ideas which he represented met with 
their final reverse. But he was much more than the champion 
of the mediaeval past. He was the real creator of the modern 
state of Prussia, which has become the centre of a revived 
German nationality, and has thus succeeded to some extent in 
carrying out the schemes in the advancement of which its 
great founder spent his life. 

Frederick in., who held the German crown for fifty-three 
yenrs, was almost as inefficient a ruler as the drunken VVenzel, 
but his inaction was due rather to set purpose than character of 
to incompetence. He is described by a German Frederick in. 
chronicler as handsome and well built, of quick intelligence 
but of placid spirit, fond above measure of peace and quiet. 
Even the labours of the chase were distasteful to him, and his 
chief delight was in architecture and the collection of precious 
stones. By many he was considered a coward. His acute 
contemporary, Philippe de Commines, calls him 'the most 
perfectly niggardly man that ever lived.' In another pass- 
age, however, Commines admits that his long experience of 
men had given him wisdom. This was quite true. Frederick 
had none of the energy and decision of a statesman who 
wishes to control the course of events. But he had the 
merit of self-control, and a cheery confidence that patience 
and delay would bring improvement, no matter how hope- 

404 European History, 1 273- 1494 

less might seem the condition of affairs. His reputation 
for cowardice arose from his habit of evading difficulties 
when he felt unable to face them. Thus, in 145 1, when he 
was threatened by a simultaneous rising in Austria and 
Styria, he left the rebels to do their worst, and hurried off 
to Italy to receive the imperial crown. In 1473 ne na ^ his 
famous interview at Trier with Charles the Bold, who desired 
to receive the royal title. Unwilling either to grant the 
request or to exasperate the duke by a direct refusal, the 
emperor escaped by night to Cologne. Such expedients 
were not very dignified, nor were they calculated to pro- 
duce any great triumphs of statesmanship, but they were not 
ill suited to avoid fatal disasters. In Germany Frederick was 
threatened with reforms which should annul the royal power, 
and even with deposition, yet he succeeded in the end in 
defeating his opponents. In his hereditary dominions he 
suffered many humiliations ; and at one time the greater part 
of Austria, including the capital, Vienna, had fallen into the 
hands of the Hungarians. But at the time of his death, 
Frederick left the house of Hapsburg infinitely more power- 
ful than it had been at the time of his accession. The 
family territories, which had been subdivided since 1370, 
were gradually re-united in the hands of the Styrian line. 
And the marriage of his son Maximilian with Mary of 
Burgundy raised the Hapsburgs to be one of the great 
dynasties of Europe, and prepared the way for still greater 
pre-eminence in the future. 

Of Germany as a state there is naturally very little history 
under a king who deliberately neglected his duties. For 
German op- nearly thirty years Frederick in. remained ob- 
positionto stinately secluded in his own territories, and 
' never visited any other part of Germany. Diets 
were held and matters of the gravest importance debated, 
but neither entreaties nor threats could induce the emperor 
to attend. In the first great problem of his reign, the quarrel 
between the papacy and the Council of Basel, Frederick 

Germany and the Haps burg Emperors 405 

showed the most cynical disregard of national interests and 
prejudices. The pope was anxious to annul the pragmatic 
sanction of 1439, which had given some measure of inde- 
pendence to the German Church. Frederick allowed himself 
to be bribed into a secret treaty with the papacy, and the 
diplomacy of ./Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini was employed to 
divide and gain over the princes and elector*. Eugenius iv. 
lived just long enough to accept the preliminary treaty, and 
the final concordat was concluded with Nicolas v. (see p. 
241). Equally discreditable, though less treacherous and self- 
seeking, was Frederick's conduct when the news came that 
Constantinople had fallen before the Turkish attack. The 
pope and the emperor, as the joint heads of Christendom, 
were the natural leaders of resistance to the encroachments 
of the infidel. And Frederick in. had strong personal and 
territorial interests at stake which he might consider more 
important than the obligations of his high dignity. Nicolas 
v. hastened to issue exhortations to a new crusade, and 
/Eneas Sylvius set himself to rouse the martial spirit of 
Germany. But Frederick III. shut himself up in his room, 
and with tears lamented the instability of human greatness. 
The German diet met at Ratisbon in 1453, and at Frankfort 
in 1454, but the emperor would not appear, and in his 
absence no decision could be come to. Bitter indignation 
was felt and expressed at such pusillanimous inactivity. The 
archbishop of Trier, Jacob von Sirk, who had never pardoned 
Frederick for his betrayal of the German Church to the 
papacy, took the lead of the opposition. With him was 
allied the Elector Palatine Frederick the Victorious, who 
had supplanted the infant nephew for whom he had been 
guardian, but had never been able to obtain the imperial 
sanction for his usurpation. The deposition of the emperor 
was discussed, and Philip of Burgundy, who professed great 
ardour for the projected crusade, was suggested as his 
successor. Ultimately in 1455 a m ort practical scheme was 
put forward for the creation of a central administrative body, 

406 European History, 1273- 1494 

in which the emperor might appoint a deputy if he would 
not attend in person. This council, in which the electors 
would have preponderated, was to put down disorder, to 
raise a revenue by an imperial tax upon clergy and laity 
alike, and was to take measures for the defence of the empire 
against the Turks. The scheme came to nothing. Frederick 
111. opposed a passive resistance, and the archbishop of Trier 
was more interested to gain power and prominence for 
himself than to effect any real reform. In 1456 Mohammed 
11. laid siege to Belgrade, and the fall of the fortress would 
have opened the whole valley of the upper Danube to the 
Turks. The danger was warded off, not by the exertions 
of emperor or princes, but by the heroism and skill of a 
Hungarian soldier. 

With the opposition to the emperor was combined 
hostility to the papacy. Many of the princes looked back with 
German regret to the pragmatic sanction of 1439, and 

hostility to envied the French who still retained the prag- 
e papacy. mat j c sanc ti n of Bourges. The death of 
Nicolas v. in 1455 and the election of Calixtus in. gave an 
opportunity for formulating the old complaints against the 
Roman see. Some of the electors proposed to summon a 
new general council in a German city to take up the work 
of ecclesiastical reform which the council of Basel had failed 
to carry through. At the same time the reform of the 
imperial administration was again mooted, and Frederick in. 
was called upon to attend a meeting of the diet. But the 
princes had ceased to be a united party. Albert Achilles, 
the brother of the elector of Brandenburg, had quarrelled 
with the Elector Palatine, and now came forward as the 
supporter of the emperor. The archbishop of Trier was 
dead and his successor was gained to the side of Frederick 
in., The opposition leaders still threatened to depose the 
emperor, but they had no longer a majority behind them. 
Frederick hi. by a masterly inactivity had thwarted the 
projects of administrative reform, and thus set the seal upon 

Germany and the Haps burg Emperors 40; 

German disunion. His triumph brought with it a victory 
for the papacy. Ecclesiastical tenths were constantly levied 
on the pretext of a Turkish crusade, but the money passed 
into the pope's coffers. Half the benefices in Germany were 
practically in the gift of the Curia. In 1459 ^Eneas Sylvius 
became pope as Pius 11. in succession to Calixtus in. In 
1460 he dealt a fatal blow to the conciliar opposition with 
which he had been so closely associated in earlier years. 
The bull Execrabilis declared any appeal from a papal 
decision to a general council to be impious and heretical. 
From this time the opposition to the papacy in Germany 
was only weak and fitful until a new era began in the next 

For his inaction in Germany, Frederick in. had a fairly 
substantial excuse in the constant troubles in which he was 
involved at home. Not only had he to contend with the 
factious opposition of his brother Albert and the Styrian 
nobles, but in 1439 the death of his uncle Frederick left 
him to act as guardian for the young Sigismund of Tyrol, 
and later in the same year he was called upon to deal with 
the very serious problems to which the death of Albert 11. 
gave rise. As Sigismund's guardian, Frederick III. had to 
administer Tyrol and the Swabian territories, and the latter 
brought him into collision with the Swiss. For Frederi ck 
a long time jealousy had existed between the in. and the 
rural cantons and the city members of the W1SS ' 
League, especially Zurich. This was brought to a head in 
1436 by the death of the count of Toggenburg. His 
inheritance was claimed by the emperor, by the Confedera- 
tion as a whole, and by Zurich. When the citizens seized a 
large part of the disputed territory, the rest of the con- 
federates, headed by Schwyz, took up arms and compelled 
them to disgorge their booty. It was the prominent part 
taken by the men of Schwyz on this occasion which helped 
to give their name to the whole Confederation. Indignant 
at the humiliation, Zurich drew aloof from the League and 

408 European History % 1273- 1494 

appealed to Frederick in. as both emperor and representative 
of the House of Hapsburg. Frederick could not resist the 
temptation to enforce the imperial claims to Toggenburg, 
and also to recover the Aargau which the Swiss had taken 
from his uncle, Frederick of Tyrol, at the time of his quarrel 
with the Emperor Sigismund. The war broke out in 1442, 
and in spite of Frederick's assistance Zurich was again closely 
besieged by the forces of the Confederation. Unable to 
spare more troops from his own territories, Frederick re- 
sorted to the extraordinary expedient of employing French 
mercenaries against his German subjects. Charles vn., freed 
for the time from his war with England, was only too glad 
to get rid of some of the ecorcheurs^ who had become a curse 
to France. Instead of the 5000 men whose services were 
demanded, he sent nearly 20,000 so-called 'Armagnacs' to 
invade Swabia under the nominal command of the dauphin. 
Devastation and misery marked the track of this vast force 
as it advanced to raise the siege of Zurich. A few hundred 
Swiss tried to block the way, and on the field of St. Jacob, 
the German Thermopylae, they were completely annihilated. 
But their heroism had gained its end. The invaders, who 
had suffered terrible losses, hastened to conclude a truce 
with such resolute foes, and retired to Alsace. In 1445 they 
were induced to evacuate the country, but it was long before 
the horrors of the raid were forgotten in Germany. 

Frederick in., who had brought such sufferings upon his 
subjects, gained nothing by his unpatriotic action. The Swiss 
were more than ever determined to resist the hated Hapsburgs 
to the last. The war went on till 1450, when Zurich deserted 
the Austrian alliance and returned to the League. Frederick 
Sigismund had to give up the guardianship of his cousin 
of Tyrol. Sigismund, who became independent ruler in 
Tyrol and the Swabian territories. His subsequent history 
may be briefly traced. Involved in constant quarrels with 
the Swiss, for which he was inadequately provided with men 
and money, he pledged his Swabian lands in 1469 to Charles 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 409 

the Bold. They proved as fatal a possession to the 
Burgundian duke as they had been to the Hapsburgs. The 
wily Louis xi. gained one of his greatest diplomatic triumphs 
when he reconciled the Swiss with Sigismund of Tyrol, and 
stirred them up to make war against their powerful neigh- 
bour. After successive defeats at Grans on and Morat, 
Charles the Bold fell in 1477 before the walls of Nancy. 
Sigismund of Tyrol recovered his Swabian inheritance, but 
he had no children, and before his death in 1496 he handed 
his territories over to Frederick iii.'s son Maximilian, in whose 
hands all the Hapsburg territories were reunited. 

The succession to Albert 11. in Austria, Hungary, and 
Bohemia gave rise to a series of complications in the east, 
and involved Frederick in. in many difficulties, succession 
Albert's widow, Elizabeth, gave birth to a son, in Austria . 
Ladislas Postumus, on February 22, 1440. In and 
Austria, where the rule of male succession was Bohemia - 
unquestioned, the infant duke was immediately acknowledged, 
and was placed under the guardianship of Frederick in. 
But in Bohemia and Hungary, where Hapsburg rule was 
both novel and unpopular, the problem was by no means 
so easily settled. In Hungary there was no absolute rule of 
inheritance, and female succession was not excluded either by 
custom or law. Sigismund's claim to the crown had rested 
on his marriage with the daughter of Lewis the Great, and 
Albert had been accepted as the son-in-law of Sigismund. 
It was possible to contend that there was no real vacancy, 
and that Elizabeth was lawful queen. The primary need of 
Hungary was defence against the Turks, and in order to 
strengthen the kingdom the nobles compelled Elizabeth 
to offer her hand, and with it the Hungarian crown, to 
Ladislas III. of Poland. On the birth of her son, Elizabeth 
repudiated the engagement, and had the infant crowned 
king. But she was not strong enough to enforce her will, 
and on her death in 1442 the Polish king was generally 
acknowledged in Hungary. But he perished in the great 

410 European History, 1273- 1494 

battle of Varna against the Turks in 1444, and in the 
following year the Hungarians returned to the direct line 
and recognised Ladislas Postumus as king. But he was 
still a minor in the guardianship of Frederick in. ; and as 
the Hungarians would not allow a foreigner to administor 
their kingdom, they gave the office of governor in 1446 to 
John Hunyadi, who had won a brilliant reputation in the 
Turkish war. Meanwhile, Bohemia had pursued its own 
course. The Utraquists, the most numerous and powerful 
party in the kingdom, refused to recognise claims based upon 
hereditary right or dynastic treaties, and insisted upon the 
right of election. In all probability they would have chosen 
the Jagellon king of Poland, if he had not already been 
accepted in Hungary. The connection with Hungary was 
no more popular than that with Austria. The crown was 
offered to Frederick of Brandenburg, but he would not 
have it, and in the end it was decided to elect Ladislas 
Postumus as king, and to intrust the administration during 
the minority to a council of Regency. But this settlement 
of the succession failed to produce any harmony among the 
contending parties. The Roman Catholics, headed by 
Ulrich von Rosenberg, desired a complete reconciliation 
with Germany and the Papacy. The Utraquists, who found 
a capable leader in George Podiebrad, were resolute to 
maintain the national independence and the religious settle- 
ment arranged in the Compactata with the Council of Basel. 
A prolonged civil war ended in the Utraquist victory and 
the appointment of George Podiebrad as governor of Bohemia 
in 1452. 

The Hapsburg rule in Hungary and Bohemia was nominally 
prolonged by the recognition of Ladislas Postumus in his 
Ladislas father's dominions. But in actual fact there was 
Postumu*. ij tt i e strength in the connection, as each state 
arranged its own affairs with intentional disregard of its 
fellows. To Frederick in., the guardianship of his young 
cousin brought little but incessant worries and annoyances 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 41 1 

Neither Hungary nor Bohemia would allow him any 
authority whatever, and even in Austria Sfyrian adminis- 
tration was extremely unpopular. Both the Austrian nobles 
and John Hunyadi were urgent in demanding that Ladislas 
Postumus should be released from external tutelage and 
intrusted to the care of his own subjects. George Podie- 
brad, on the other hand, who had no wish to jeopardise 
his own authority by the presence of a young king, who 
might fall under the influence of his opponents, urged 
Frederick to maintain his rights as guardian. In 145 1 
a simultaneous rising broke out in Austria and in Styria. 
Frederick in. chose this moment for a journey to Rome, 
to receive the imperial crown at the hands of the Pope. 
He endeavoured to checkmate the rebels by taking Ladislas 
Postumus with him. The coronation, on March 19, 1452, 
was the last that was destined to take place in the ancient 
capital of the empire. On the emperor's return to Germany, 
he was disgusted to find that his absence had only exasper- 
ated his opponents. The Austrian nobles entered Styria 
and attacked him in his own capital of Neustadt. Unable 
to resist any longer, Frederick agreed in September 1452 
to hand over his ward to the Count of Cilly, who carried 
him in triumph to Vienna. 

Ladislas Postumus seemed to have a brilliant career before 
him, when he emerged from tutelage to be Duke of Austria 
and King of Hungary and Bohemia. He was at the time 
in his thirteenth year, and he had only five troubled years 
to live. Hungary and Bohemia remained under the ad- 
ministration of Hunyadi and Podiebrad, but Ladislas was 
involved in quarrels with the two regents by the evil in- 
fluence of the Count of Cilly. It was still Reliefof 
uncertain whether the young king would succeed Beigrad, 
in asserting his personal authority, when the I45 ' 
fall of Constantinople and the pressing danger from the 
Turks compelled a temporary pacification. In 1456, 
Mohammed 11. with a huge army laid siege to Belgrade, 

412 European History \ 1273- 1494 

and Turkish vessels sailed up the Danube to exclude 
any attempt to relieve the garrison by way of the river, 
Hungary and south-eastern Germany would be exposed 
to invasion if the great fortress were allowed to fall. For 
a moment, something like the old crusading fervour was 
excited by the preaching of an enthusiastic Franciscan, 
Fra Capistrano, and Hunyadi undertook the command of 
the motley host that was collected by the eloquence of the 
friar. A flotilla of rafts and boats was prepared, and the 
destruction of the Turkish ships, under the very eyes of 
the Sultan and his army, enabled the relieving force to 
enter Belgrade. But Mohammed 11. refused to acknowledge 
his defeat. As a blockade was no longer possible, he 
determined to carry the fortress by storm. One by one 
the outworks were carried by sheer force of numbers in spite 
of the heroic resistance of the defenders. The crescent was 
about to be elevated to announce a signal victory, when 
Hunyadi and Capistrano headed a last sally. The Turks 
were driven in headlong flight from the walls, their camp was 
stormed and burned, and before evening the Sultan's army 
was in full flight for Sofia, leaving 20,000 men on the field 
(July 22, 1456). The relief of Belgrade was a magnificent 
achievement, but it cost the life of the two leaders. Hunyadi 
died of camp fever on August n, and a few weeks later 
Capistrano followed him to the grave. 

The death of the Hungarian regent was welcomed by 
Count Cilly as removing a rival from his path. But the 
Death of great soldier had left two sons, Ladislas and 
Ladisias Mathias, who inherited their father's popularity 
ostumus. anc j might aspire to hold his position in the 
state, and Cilly schemed to effect their ruin. Ignorant that 
his intrigues had been discovered, he accompanied the young 
king on a visit to the rescued fortress. No sooner were 
they within Belgrade than they found themselves prisoners, 
and Cilly was brought before Ladislas Hunyadi, reproached 
for his treachery, and put to death. Ladislas Postumus 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 413 

was shrewd enough to dissimulate his wrath and to pretend 
to pardon the murderers. But he was only waiting his time. 
Early in 1457 he returned to Pesth, and as soon as he had 
surrounded himself with his own partisans, he had Ladislas 
Hunyadi taken prisoner, tried and executed for the murder 
of Cilly. Mathias, the younger brother, he carried off to 
Vienna and thence to Prague. At the latter city he was 
preparing to celebrate his marriage with Madeline, daughter 
of Charles vn. of France, when he died suddenly on 
November 23, 1457. So tragic an event made a profound 
impression in Europe. Ladislas Postumus was too young 
to be regarded as responsible for the demerits of his govern- 
ment, and his handsome face and winning manners had 
always made him personally popular. In Vienna the news 
was received with paroxysms of grief, and a suspicion was 
naturally entertained that the young prince had met with 
foul play. That he should have died in Prague was almost 
conclusive proof of crime. German dislike of the Slavs 
and Roman Catholic detestation of heretics combined to 
formulate the charge against George Podiebrad. Before 
long men told in detail how the poison had been administered, 
its effects on the unfortunate victim, and the way in which 
the doctors had been suborned by the Bohemian regent 
But there is not the slightest foundation for these stories, 
and Ladislas unquestionably died of the plague or Black 
Death which devastated Europe at intervals throughout the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

For the second time within a few years the connexion 
between Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia was dissolved, and 
as Ladislas Postumus left no descendants, it seemed ex- 
tremely unlikely that it would be renewed. In each of the 
three countries which he ruled he represented a different 
dynasty. In Austria he was the last of the Albertine line, 
and his death left the primacy to the Styrian branch of the 
Hapsburgs. In Hungary he had ruled, through the marriage 
of his grandfather Sigismund, as the ultimate descendant of 

414 European History, 1273- 1494 

the Angevin dynasty, which had held the crown for a century 
and a half. In Bohemia, through his mother Elizabeth, he 
represented the house of Luxemburg. Great interest attached 
to the succession. Austria, by family agreement, passed to 
the joint rule of the three surviving Hapsburg princes, 
Frederick in. and his brother Albert, and their cousin Sigis- 
mund of Tyrol. Such an arrangement gave rise to quarrels, 
which were only terminated by the death of Albert in 1463, 
when Frederick ill. bought off Sigismund with a money 
payment and assumed the undivided government of the 
Austrian duchy. In Hungary it was decided to disregard all 
Elections of hereditary claims, and to fill the throne by free 
Mathias election. On January 24, 1458, the choice of 
Geo^e" 8 the diet fell upon Mathias Corvinus, the surviving 
Podiebrad. son f Hunyadi, whose final exploit in relieving 
Belgrade had made him a national hero. In Bohemia a 
similar contempt was shown for dynastic or treaty claims, 
and the growing national sentiment found expression in the 
election of George Podiebrad (March 2, 1458). These two 
elections were events of no ordinary significance. They 
marked a popular protest against dynastic arrangements 
which had paid no regard to national interests, and had so 
often brought about the rule of alien princes. The practical 
assertion of the rights of the people, of the principle of 
nationality, and of the idea that merit rather than birth 
confers a claim to rule, was a serious blow to the vested 
interests of European kings and princes. 

The termination of Hapsburg rule in Hungary and Bohemia 
was a bitter disappointment to Frederick in., who had hoped 
to succeed his cousin in these kingdoms. But as usual, his 
exertions were unequal to his ambition ; and after a futile 
struggle he was compelled to acknowledge his successful 
war between rivals - Common interests drew the new kings 
Hungary and together, and the marriage of Mathias with the 
Bohemia. daughter of Podiebrad seemed likely to be the 
basis of a close and lasting alliance. Such an alliance would 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 415 

have been of the greatest value to Europe, and would 
have constituted a formidable barrier to Turkish aggression. 
George Podiebrad had already shown consummate statesman- 
ship in restoring order in the distracted state of Bohemia, and 
Mathias soon proved that he had inherited no inconsiderable 
share of the military skill and energy of his father. But 
unfortunately religious differences placed an impediment in 
the way of the concerted action of two princes who had no 
superior among the monarchs of their time. Mathias was 
an orthodox member of the Church, while his father-in-law 
had been born and bred a Utraquist, and had consistently 
directed his policy to the maintenance of the Compacts 
of 1433. But these concessions to the Hussites had been 
extorted with difficulty from the Council of Basel, and suc- 
cessive popes were eager to restore uniformity of belief and 
ritual by their revocation. Pius II., encouraged by a confident 
expectation of the revival of crusading ardour, ventured to 
annul the Compacts in 1462, and his successor, Paul 11., in 
1466 decreed the deposition of Podiebrad as a heretic. The 
result of these papal measures was to rekindle a religious war 
in Bohemia, and Breslau became the centre of a rebellious 
Catholic league. But Podiebrad was well able to hold his 
own against domestic opposition, and the Pope, with the 
connivance of the Emperor, set himself to obtain the active 
assistance of the Hungarian king. Mathias had no sympathy 
with heresy, his wife had died in 1464, and he was tempted 
by the prospect of acquiring the Bohemian crown for himself 
and of gaining the active support of the German states against 
the Turks. War broke out in 1468, but Mathias, in spite of 
occasional victories, gained little honour or substantial advan- 
tage. In fact the chief result of hostilities was to deprive him 
of the prospect of gaining Bohemia. George Podiebrad, 
driven by Hungarian invasion to seek the support of Poland, 
suggested Ladislas, the son of Casimir of Poland, as his 
successor. The proposal was not unwelcome to the diet. 
The sentiment of nationality was conciliated by the choice of 

4 1 6 European History \ 1273- 1494 

a Slav prince, and the only lingering sentiment of loyalty to the 
ancient dynasty was gratified by the thought that Ladislas's 
mother was the younger daughter of Albert it. and Elizabeth 
of Luxemburg, and that therefore some of the blood of 
Charles iv. ran in his veins. On the death of Podiebrad in 
147 1, Ladislas succeeded in attaining the crown in spite of 
all the efforts of Mathias to exclude him. 

Mathias had good reason to suspect that the emperor, his 
professed ally, had supported the candidature of Ladislas, 
and during the later part of his reign he was engaged in 
almost continual hostilities with Austria. Frederick in. was 
no soldier, and for a time he was glad to purchase the restora- 
tion of conquered territories by a money payment to his 
formidable neighbour. His attention was absorbed during 
Frederick in. a wno ^ e decade by the important events in the 
and west which preceded and followed the death of 

Burgundy. Charles the Bold. His great desire was to secure 
the hand of Charles's daughter for his son Maximilian, but he 
must many times have despaired of achieving his end. In 
1473 ne evaded by flight Charles's imperative request for a 
royal title. In the next year he had to raise an imperial 
army in order to relieve Neuss from the Burgund an besiegers, 
though he was careful to avoid actual hostilities, and rejected 
the artful proposals of Louis xi. for a partition of the terri- 
tories of a common enemy. Yet he used his influence to 
bring about the war between Charles and the Swiss, which 
restored to the Hapsburgs their ancient lands in Swabia, and 
in which Charles met with his defeat and death. Then at 
last Frederick found his opportunity. Pressed by the selfish 
aggression of Louis xi., Mary of Burgundy concluded the 
marriage with Maximilian which had been so long debated, 
and brought to her husband the great Burgundian inheritance, 
though the treaty of Arras (1482) shore off some provinces 
which Louis xi. would not relinquish. 

This notable triumph was followed by an equally signal 
humiliation. The war with Hungary was renewed, and 

Germany and the Hapsburg Emperors 417 

Mathias Corvinus overran the whole of Austria and great 
part of Styria and Carinthia. In 1485 Vienna was compelled 
to surrender, and Frederick III., driven from his Last years of 
capital, was forced to wander as an imperial Frederick in 
mendicant from one German monastery to another. Yet the 
old man never lost his cheerfulness or his confidence in the 
future. He refused to allow Maximilian to conclude a treaty 
in which any permanent cession of Austrian territory should 
be stipulated, and insisted upon waiting for a favourable turn 
in the course of events. In i486 he induced the electors to 
choose Maximilian as King of the Romans, and thus secured 
the continuance of the imperial dignity in his family. In 
1490 Mathias Corvinus died leaving no legitimate heir to 
continue the line of Hunyadi. Neither Frederick nor Maxi- 
milian could secure the succession, and the Hungarian diet 
offered the crown to Ladislas of Bohemia. But though the 
extension of Jagellon power was in itself displeasing, the 
change of rulers enabled the Hapsburgs to recover their 
losses. In 149 1 Ladislas was compelled to sign the treaty 01 
Pressburg, by which all the conquests of Mathias were restored, 
and it was arranged that on the extinction of his male line 
his territories should pass to the Hapsburgs. By a series of 
chances, this condition was actually carried out within the 
next forty years. But the exertions of Maximilian to extort 
these terms from the Hungarian king had involved him in a 
great humiliation in the west. The heiress of Brittany, to 
whom he had been actually married by proxy, was forced 
to give her person and her province to the French king 
Charles vin., and his only daughter, Margaret, who had been 
for years betrothed to the latter, was repudiated and sent 
back to her father. But the wrong brought with it some com- 
pensation when Charles viil, in 1493, found it a necessary 
preliminary to his Italian expedition to conciliate his injured 
rival by the restoration of Artois and Franche-Comte. The 
year before, Maximilian had received Tyrol and Alsace from 
Sigismund, so that Frederick III. lived to see the Hapsburg 


4 1 8 European History \ 1273- 1494 

dominions not only reunited in a single line, but vastly 
extended. For some time he had allowed all power to fall 
into the hands of his impetuous son, and little interest was 
aroused in the midst of more exciting events by the news 
that the old emperor had died on August 19, 1493. For 
years he had inscribed the five vowels as a mystic sign on all 
his buildings, books, and ornaments, and it appeared that 
their significance was Austria est imperare orbi universo, or 
in German Alles Erdreich ist CEsterreich unterthan. The 
implied prophecy was never literally fulfilled, but it came 
nearer to fulfilment than any contemporary of Frederick in. 
could have anticipated. And to this result the patient and 
rather ignobte diplomacy of the long-lived emperor con- 
tributed in no small degree. 



Relations of Germany in the fourteenth century with Scandinavians and 
Slavs — The towns of southern and northern Germany — Unions of German 
merchants abroad— Trade in the Baltic and the North Sea — Alliance of 
Ltibeck and Hamburg — Origin of the Hanseatic League— Aggressions 
of Eric Menved — Collapse of Denmark and revival of the League — 
Waldemar in. and the capture of Wisby— The Hanse towns at war with 
Waldemar— Treaty of Stralsund— The League at the zenith of its power 
—Queen Margaret and the Union of Kalmar— War between Denmark 
and Holstein for the possession of Schleswig — Deposition of Eric of 
Pomerania — Christopher of Bavaria re-unites the three kingdoms — 
Christian i. of Oldenburg and the severance of Sweden from the Union — 
Karl Knudson and the Stures— Christian I. acquires Schleswig and 
Holstein— Gradual decline of the Hanseatic League. 

The fourteenth century is not a period to which Germans 
look back with pride or satisfaction. It produced no great 
rulers, like the Ottos, or Frederick Barbarossa, or Relation of 
Frederick n., who are the favourite heroes of °? r 1 J n * ny ., 

' | . with Scandi- 

German history in the middle ages. In their naviansand 
place we have Lewis the Bavarian and his Slavs - 
pusillanimous struggle with French popes, Charles iv. with 
his subtle and cold-blooded policy which has been little 
understood or appreciated because it produced no great 
obvious results, and Wenzel, whose drunken incompetence 
led to deposition and schism. There is an obvious decline 
of German power and prestige. The crowns of Italy and of 
Aries confer upon their holder a nominal dignity as unreal 
as that of the Roman Empire itself. The German kingship 


420 European History \ 1273- 1494 

is more substantial, but possesses little efficient authority. 
The king's influence depends more upon his private terri- 
torial possessions than upon his royal position, and his chief 
interest is in the aggrandisement of his family rather than 
the extension of the powers of the crown. He cannot extort 
obedience from his powerful vassals, still less can he defend 
the distant frontiers of his kingdom. 

Yet in spite of the impotence of the central authority, there 
were two points on the frontier on which the cause of Germany 
was championed with brilliant though not very lasting success. 
To the north-west lay the Scandinavian kingdoms of Norway, 
Sweden and Denmark, of which Denmark was the nearest and 
for a long time the most powerful. The Danes were of German 
origin, and for generations they had recognised the overlordship 
of German emperors. But they had gradually become severed 
from the southern members of their own race, and theii 
interests and prejudices were in many respects anti-German. 
Knud vi. (1 182-1202) repudiated any allegiance to the 
emperor, and the break-up of the Saxon duchy by Frederick 
Barbarossa destroyed the most efficient bulwark of northern 
Germany against Danish aggression. Geographical position 
enabled the Danes to claim a control of the Baltic, which 
more than one king from Waldemar 11. (1 202-1 241) to 
Waldemar in. (1340-13 75) sought to convert into absolute 
supremacy. Resistance to a design which would have been 
disastrous to Germany was undertaken, not by the emperors, 
who showed a curious incapacity to appreciate the importance 
of the Baltic, but by the famous association of North German 
towns which is known as the Hanseatic League. Their 
motive was neither patriotism nor a sense of nationality, but 
a selfish pursuit of trading interests : nevertheless their action 
saved Germany from a serious danger. 

Farther east was a still greater problem. In the ninth century 
the whole of the southern coast of the Baltic was inhabited by 
Slavs, who had displaced the earlier German settlers. With the 
tenth century began a long struggle on the part of the Germans to 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 42 1 

drive back this alien migration, or at any rate to extort 
submission and the acceptance of Christianity from the 
conquered Slavs. Thanks to the exertions of two great 
families, the Welfs in Saxony and the Ascanians in Branden- 
burg, this task was in great measure accomplished by the 
thirteenth century. As far as the Vistula German pre- 
ponderance had been established and secured by the intro- 
duction of German settlers and the foundation of German 
towns. But to the east of the Vistula the struggle was still 
going on, and it still involved religious as well as political 
and commercial interests. Here again, as in the north-west, 
the emperors were absolutely inactive, and the Teutonic 
Order was left almost unaided to carry on a crusade in 
Lithuania and Livonia for the extension at once of Chris- 
tianity and of German civilisation. These two very different 
corporations, the Hanse towns and the Teutonic knights — 
with the equally different Swiss Confederation in the south — 
are in many ways the most interesting developments of 
German life in an age when Germany as a whole was weak 
and anarchical. 

The towns of Germany developed more slowly than the 
great Italian republics, and never attained to the same 
measure of independence or fame. Yet in many The German 
respects their history is similar. Both owed towns - 
their municipal self-government to the weakness of the 
central authority, and both owed their prosperity to an 
advantageous position for carrying on trade. The great 
commercial routes by which the commodities made or 
collected in Italy were distributed throughout central Europe, 
ran through southern Germany, and it was their position on 
these routes that gave importance to such towns as Ulm, 
Ratisbon, Augsburg, and Niirnberg. In the north an almost 
equally lucrative trade was conducted along the shores of 
the Baltic and the North Sea, and this trade was almost a 
monopoly in the hands of German merchants. And the 
northern sailors had another source of wealth in the fishing 

422 European History, 1 273-1494 

industry, which was of special importance in the Middle Ages, 
when strict rules as to fasting were enforced by the Church 
The combination of trade and fishing brought prosperity to 
the great northern towns of Bremen, Hamburg, Liibeck, 
Rostock, Danzig, and many others. Between the north and 
the south lay the great city of Cologne, interested in the 
southern trade as it found its way along the Rhine valley, 
and having also a large stake in the commerce with England 
and other countries bordering on the North Sea. But the 
real meeting-place of north and south was in the Flemish 
city of Bruges, whither merchants from all parts of Europe 
thronged to exchange their respective wares. 

The fourteenth century is the golden age of the German 
towns, the period in which their wealth and political import- 
Distinction ance were higher than at any other period. But 
between there is a marked and noteworthy distinction 

northern and , , 111 

southern between the northern and the southern groups. 

towns. The great southern cities had many interests in 

common with each other. They had to resist the growing 
power of the territorial princes, always jealous of municipal 
independence; they were eager to put down disorder and 
private war ; and obvious motives impelled them to oppose 
excessive tolls on roads and rivers and to obtain security for 
travellers. These interests, and especially the need of police 
measures to put down robbery or to extort redress, induced 
them from time to time to form alliances among themselves. 
But still stronger than community of interest was the jealousy 
with which the cities regarded each other, and none of these 
leagues proved lasting. The dominant aim of the southern 
cities was independence and isolation. In the north the 
sense of rivalry was equally strong, but the dangers and 
difficulties were in many ways greater, and thus there was a 
more powerful impulse towards union. The surrounding 
states were all of them more backward and less civilised 
than the Germans ; and this gave to the northern towns an 
infinitely greater political influence than could be exercised 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 423 

by those of the south, which had to deal with powerful and 
highly developed communities. Hence, while the southern 
cities could never combine together except for a short time 
and an immediate object, those in the north gradually formed 
a league, faulty and ill adjusted in many ways, but which 
gave its members far greater importance than they could 
have acquired by isolated action, and even enabled them to 
play for a short time a dominant part in the politics of 
northern Europe. 

The word ■ hansa ' is of some importance in the Middle 
Ages. In its earliest known use it means a band or troop 
of soldiers. Hence it acquires its later meaning of a union 
or association, especially for mercantile purposes. It is also 
used for the charge made by a superior authority for leave to 
carry on trade. When Henry the Lion wished to encourage 
trade in his newly acquired town of Liibeck, he authorised 
foreign merchants to enter and leave it absque theloneo et 
absque hansa, 'without tax or toll.' But its most usual 
signification is association or guild ; the hansa is the 
merchant-guild, the hans-hus is the guild-hall. And it is in 
this sense that it came to be applied to the great Hansa, the 
league of north German towns. The very name expresses 
the important fact that the league of towns had its origin in 
a league or leagues of traders. 

The whole social and economic life of the Middle Ages 
is dominated by the principle of association. The village 
community or manor is the most familiar illustration \ the 
Church with its inner corporations is another. In urban 
communities we find the same thing. Whoever wished to 
practise a handicraft must belong to a guild : whoever 
wished to engage in commerce must enter a trade-guild 
or hansa. The individual was powerless. Only through 
union with others did he obtain capacity of action and 
protection for his activity. Any comparison of the modern 
association with the mediaeval union is as a rule superficial 
and misleading. What is now a matter of use and advantage 

424 European History, 1273- 1494 

was then a matter of necessity, of actual if not of formal 
compulsion. The essential distinction is to be found in 
the very limited area of state action in early times. In the 
Middle Ages the corporation fulfilled most of the duties 
which the undeveloped state had neither the will nor the 
power to undertake. 

If the home trader required an association, the merchant 
who journeyed to foreign countries needed one still more. 

There were few commission agents in the Middle 
German Ages, and the merchant in person had to super- 

merchants intend the carriage and the sale of his goods. The 

perils of travelling by land were great ; those by 
sea were far greater. Pirates were almost as numerous and 
more difficult to resist than land-robbers, and the dangers 
of navigation were a very serious consideration when sailors 
had no compass to guide their course, and owners had no 
system of insurance to cover their risks. It was no wonder 
that traders desired to travel in considerable numbers in 
order that perils and disasters might be avoided, or at the 
worst chronicled. But it was when the merchants reached 
a foreign soil that the necessity of union became most 
pressing. It often took a long time to dispose of a cargo ; 
and as winter travelling was considered impossible, it was 
frequently necessary to spend several months in a foreign 
land. Hence the merchants combined to acquire joint 
property in the chief markets they visited : not only inns 
for personal lodging, but warehouses for the stowage of 
goods, and harbourage for their ships. These 'factories,' 
as they were called, became the central point of the union 
or hansa formed by the merchants. The mediaeval system 
of law gave another impulse towards combination. Law 
in early time was personal, not territorial ; it did not apply 
to all persons on the soil. The guest, as the foreigner 
was called, if not altogether lawless, was yet at a great 
disadvantage as compared with the native. Any disputes 
among the foreign merchants had to be settled among 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 425 

themselves and by their own law. In disputes with natives 
it was difficult for them to obtain justice, unless they could 
secure some powerful support within the state. To carry on 
trade at all they required privileges and concessions, which 
were not easily to be gained by individuals. All these 
considerations forced the merchants to adopt a corporate 
organisation. At the head of the hansa were elders or 
aldermen, who administered justice among the members, 
held assemblies for the consideration of common interests, 
and represented the community in its relations with the 
outside world. The more efficient this organisation was, 
the better able were the merchants to obtain privileges, 
especially the remission of duties upon trade, from the com- 
munity with which they had to deal. The new-comer could 
only share these privileges by obtaining admission to the 
hansa, and for this he had to obtain the consent of the 
members and to pay a money fee. 

The two chief scenes of mercantile activity in the north 
were the Baltic and the North Sea, connected with each other 
only by the narrow straits which separate the Trade in the 
islands and peninsulas of Scandinavia. The Baltic and 
great centre of the Baltic trade was Wisby, the North Sea ' 
capital of the island of Gothland. So important and flourish- 
ing was Wisby in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that 
many merchants took up their abode there; and though it 
remained a part of the Swedish kingdom, it became to all 
intents and purposes a German town. Thus an important 
distinction grew up between the German residents in Wisby 
and the older union of merchants, who only visited the 
town for purposes of trade. From Wisby factories were 
organised for the extension of eastern trade. Of these, by 
far the most important was at Novgorod, which became 
the great centre of trade with Russia. In the course of the 
thirteenth century the ascendency of Wisby in the Baltic 
was threatened by the rise of a group of towns upon territory 
which had been won back for Germany from the Wends, 

426 European History \ 1273- 1494 

the most westerly of the Slav settlers on the Baltic coasts. 
These \ Wendish ' towns, as they are called, though in 
population and character they were wholly German, were 
Liibeck, Rostock, Wismar, Stralsund, and Greifswald ; and 
among them Liibeck, thanks to its advantageous position 
on the Trave and to the efficient patronage it received, 
played from the first by far the most prominent part. In 
the North Sea there were three great foreign markets to 
which German merchants resorted, and where they formed 
hansas of notable importance. These were Bergen in 
Norway, London in England, and Bruges in Flanders. For 
a long time the majority of the North Sea traders came 
from Cologne, which was as predominant in the west as 
Wisby had become in the east. But other towns became 
rivals of Cologne, notably Hamburg on the Elbe, and 
Bremen on the Weser. Even from inland towns, such as 
Soest, Dortmund, and Miinster in Westphalia, merchants 
journeyed to the coast and hired vessels for the conveyance 
of their goods to England or Norway. 

It was inevitable that these unions of German merchants 
in foreign parts should exercise a marked influence upon 
the conduct of the towns from which they came. 
t^adToiTthe The merchants were only occasional sojourners 
relations of i n their foreign abodes ; the greater part of their 
the towns. j. ves ^^ S p en t at home. And it is important 
to remember that the councils of most of the north German 
towns were composed almost solely of merchants. Artisans 
were jealously excluded and looked down upon, and there 
are few traces of a land-owning nobility in the German 
towns such as that which played a prominent part in the 
history of Florence and other Italian cities. Hence the 
policy of the town councils was guided by the mercantile 
interests of their members. And the foreign hansas, if they 
failed to gain what they wanted, appealed for support to the 
towns from which the members came. Thus when mer- 
chants were closely associated in trade, their towns were 

Hans ea tic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 427 

naturally drawn into co-operation for common interests. 
This joint action for the furtherance of trade and the protec- 
tion of the fisheries gave the first great impulse to the 
formation of town leagues. As long as the Baltic and the 
North Sea were fairly distinct units, the tendency was to 
form two or more separate groups. The towns on the North 
Sea tended to group themselves round Cologne or Hamburg, 
while in the Baltic one or two leagues might have been 
formed under the guidance of Wisby or of Liibeck. But 
a new era in the development of northern Germany set in 
when the Baltic towns began to encroach upon the North 
Sea trade, and when Liibeck undertook to dispute the 
primacy of Cologne in the west, as she had already disputed 
the pre-eminence of Wisby in the east. The great struggle 
took place in London. Here German merchants had been 
active since the reign of ^Ethelred II., one of whose laws 
enacts that ' the men of the emperor shall be held as worthy 
of good laws as ourselves.' These early traders must have 
come mostly from Cologne, and it was the men of Cologne 
who formed the first German hansa in England. Other 
merchants had to obtain admission by payment to the 
Hansa of Cologne, and gradually it expanded to admit most 
of the traders from the Rhine and Westphalia. But natives 
of other districts found it difficult to gain admission, and 
when the men of Liibeck appeared upon the scene they set 
themselves to break down the monopoly of Cologne. In 
this struggle they had the support of Hamburg, already a 
serious rival to Cologne, and possessed of a more advan- 
tageous site for trade with England. When applicants had 
money and influence behind them, it was not difficult to 
obtain concessions from the English government, which 
found a pecuniary interest in the protection of foreign 
merchants. In 1266 and 1267 Hamburg and Liibeck were 
allowed to form hansas of their own on the model of that 
of Cologne. These were not in London, but at Lynn, a 
favourite port of the Germans on the east coast. In the 

428 European History, 1273- 1494 

early years of Edward 1. the three separate hansas were 
fused into a single Hansa A/amanm'a, of which we first 
find official mention in the year 1282. Its members were 
known to the English as the Easterlings or Osterlings, a 
name which they afterwards adopted for themselves. 

The combination of all German merchants to form a single 
hansa in England is in many ways a very significant event. 
Alliance of ^ mar ks a union between Baltic and North Sea 
Lubeckand traders, which for the first time rendered pos- 
am urg. s [\y\ e a general league of all the towns of northern 
Germany. It was brought about by the joint action of Lubeck 
and Hamburg, and there is a well-founded tradition which 
attributes to the alliance of these two towns the origin of the 
Hanseatic League. For free trade between the Baltic and 
the North Sea it was imperative, if possible, to secure the 
passage through the narrow channels of the Sound and the 
Belt. But these were dominated by Denmark, which in those 
days held not only the peninsula of Jutland and the island 
of Zealand, but also the southern provinces of what is now 
Sweden. Geography enabled the Danes either to close the 
straits or to levy a toll upon the vessels that passed through. 
Moreover, the great centre of the herring fishery in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was the coast of Skaania, 
on the eastern side of the Sound. Here again the Danes 
had it in their power to inflict damage upon the German 
merchants and sailors who flocked to the coast of Skaania 
during the fishing season. Hence one of the most pressing 
needs of the north German towns was to protect the straits 
and the fisheries from Danish aggression, and the lead in 
this defence naturally devolved upon the two towns which 
stood nearest to the barrier between the two seas — Lubeck 
to the east of Jutland, and Hamburg to the west. The two 
towns were not very distant from each other ; and if, at the 
worst, the passage of the Sound was blocked, a merchant 
could unlade his goods at either port, carry them overland to 
the other, and thence renew his voyage either on the Baltic 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 429 

or the North Sea. The earliest alliance between the two 
towns had for its object the protection of the roads leading 
from one to the other, and from this they advanced to 
common action in England and in Flanders. 

It was no wonder that other towns tended to ally them- 
selves with the two cities which could and did render such 
invaluable services to a cause which was common The origin of 
to all. By the end of the fourteenth century we th e Hanseatic 
can find sufficient traces of combination among eague - 
the north German towns to justify the fixing of this as the 
date of the origin of the Hanseatic League. Liibeck was 
the more active and enterprising of the two allies, and had 
the more commanding position through her intimate con- 
nection with the Wendish and other Baltic towns, which were 
already united together by the acceptance of the Liibeck 
laws. It was an obvious advantage for German merchants to 
have a common legal system for the settlement of disputes in 
which any of them might from time to time be involved ; and 
in spite of the opposition of Wisby, Liibeck had succeeded in 
procuring the adoption of its code by most of the eastern 
traders. The hegemony which was thus acquired within a 
limited area both fitted and encouraged Liibeck to undertake 
the leadership of a larger and more ambitious combination. 
It was from Liibeck that invitations were issued to the other 
towns to send delegates for the discussion of matters of 
common interests, and many of the early meetings were 
held within its walls. In 1284 a complaint of injuries 
received from Norway led to a decision of the towns at an 
assembly at Rostock to close all export and import trade with 
Norway until redress had been obtained. It was further 
determined to cease all intercourse with Bremen if that city 
should refuse to accept the decision of the other towns. In 
1293 a meeting of delegates from the Saxon and Baltic towns 
resolved that henceforth all appeals from Novgorod should 
be carried to Liibeck. Wisby was supported only by Riga 
andOsnabriick in opposing a resolution which recognised the 

430 European History, 1273- 1494 

ascendency of its rival. In 1300 the consideration of com- 
mercial grievances in Flanders was undertaken in a general 
assembly at Liibeck, to which all the north German towns 
were invited from the mouths of the Rhine to the Gulf of 

By the beginning of the fourteenth century the unions of 
German merchants in foreign parts had lost their independ- 
ence, and had become subject to the control and guidance of 
the towns. But the combination thus created among the 
towns was in many ways incomplete. There was nothing 
like a federation involving permanent obligations upon its 
members. The meetings were only occasional, when any 
matter requiring settlement arose, and there was a great 
variation in the number of towns represented, according as 
the matter was of general or local interest. Within the large 
area over which the north German trading communities were 
spread, there were many smaller combinations of towns, con- 
nected by joint action in the past, by agreements as to the 
use of common laws or a common currency, or merely by 
local contiguity. These smaller associations were older and 
possessed more consistency than any general league. In fact, 
such a general league can hardly be said to have come into 
existence j and so far as it was beginning to grow up, it was 
concerned solely with commerce, and had no political signifi- 
cance whatever. Some of the towns were free imperial cities, 
as Liibeck had become on the fall of Henry the Lion, 
whereas the majority were subject to a territorial prince. 
Under such conditions an efficient federation for political 
purposes was impossible. This is illustrated by the history 
Aggression* of " the earl y y ears of the fourteenth century. In 
of Eric 1307 Liibeck, threatened by the neighbouring 

Menved. coun t f Holstein, appealed for assistance to 
Eric Menved, king of Denmark, and actually acknowledged 
Danish suzerainty. Such an act on the part of the most 
flourishing German city on the Baltic shows how little any 
sentiment of nationality existed among the citizens. Eric was 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 43 1 

emboldened to attempt the recovery of that ascendency over 
the Baltic coasts which his predecessor, Waldemar 11., had 
for a time established till it was overthrown at the battle of 
Bornhoved in 1227. In carrying out his aim he had to 
subdue the Wendish towns. Rostock and VVismar were com- 
pelled to submit, and only Stralsund offered a successful 
resistance to the Danes. But the striking fact is that the 
towns rendered no assistance to each other. The whole 
episode proves that their union was limited to the protection 
of mercantile interests. As long as the Danish king abstained 
from any attack upon German commerce, there was no 
machinery for common action. Still it would seem that the 
loss of political independence brought with it a diminished 
ability to act together in any way. For some years after the 
submission of Liibeck we lose any traces of combination 
among the north German towns, and the foreign merchants 
were left once more to protect their own interests without 
any assistance or any control from the municipalities at 

But this decline of the towns, which amounted almost to a 
dissolution of the growing league, was as short-lived as the 
revival of Danish preponderance on the Baltic. Decline of 
Eric Menved had attempted a task beyond the Denmark - 
resources either of his own ability or of his state. His 
extravagant and reckless policy forced him to purchase 
support by lavish grants of lands and privileges, and 
the consequent growth of a powerful nobility in Denmark 
proved a serious hindrance to later kings. Eric himself died 
in 1 319, and left his brother, Christopher 11., to face the 
troubles for which he had been responsible. Christopher 
found it impossible to resist the combination of foreign attack 
with domestic rebellion. The whole of Denmark was lost, 
either to the native nobles or to German invaders ; while 
Skaania and the adjacent provinces were seized by Magnus 
of Sweden, who had also obtained the crown of Norway as 
the grandson of King Hakon. When Christopher died in 

432 European History, 1273- 1494 

exile in 1332 the Danish monarchy seemed for the next eight 
years to be practically extinguished. The sudden collapse of 
Revival of Denmark restored independence to the Wendish 
the League. t owns> anc i w ith it revived the activity of the 
League. The anarchy and disorder in the north during and 
after the reign of Christopher II. rendered the duty of defend- 
ing trade-routes and fishing-stations more imperative than 
ever. Between 1330 and 1360 we find evidence of more and 
more regular meetings of the town delegates ; and it is in 
these years that the name of Hansa, hitherto used only for 
the mercantile unions in England and other foreign countries, 
came to be applied to the league of towns. In 1358 an 
assembly was summoned of 'all towns belonging to the 
Hansa of the Germans,' and the invitation was sent to 
Cologne and Wisby, to the towns of Brandenburg, Saxony, 
Westphalia, Prussia, and Livonia. Already, in 1352, Magnus 
of Sweden speaks of 'the merchants of the sea-towns, called 
hanse-brothers.' The decrees of the assembly are binding 
upon all members, and the penalty is expulsion from the 
League and its privileges. ' If any town of the German 
Hansa shall refuse to observe this,' says one decree, 'the 
town shall remain for ever outside the German Hansa, and 
shall be deprived for ever of German law.' About this time 
Bremen, which had been excluded ever since the quarrel 
with Norway in 1284, was restored to membership of the 
League. Within the wider association, which champions the 
interests of all north German traders, we find distinct evidence 
of a recognised division into three parts for more local 
purposes. The Wendish and Saxon towns under the leader- 
ship of Liibeck constitute one division. Another is formed 
of the eastern settlements in Gothland, Livonia, and Sweden, 
with Wisby as a sort of capital ; while a curious and unex- 
plained combination of Westphalian and Prussian towns are 
grouped round Cologne. In 1347 it was agreed that each 
third should elect two elders every year to manage the 
German depot at Bruges. Thus by the middle of the 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 43 3 

fourteenth century we find that the Hanseatic League has 
gained a definite organisation, although its functions are 
still limited to matters of trade, and have no strictly political 
character. But events were soon to occur which were to try 
the stability of the League and to give it more political 
importance than it had yet possessed. 

For eight years after the death of Christopher 11. Denmark 
was without a king, but in 1340 Waldemar III., Christopher's 
youngest son, undertook the task of recover- Wa i demarIII 
ing his father's dominions. He received the andthecapture 
assistance of the Wendish towns, which had no ofWlsb y- 
interest in the prolongation of anarchy, while they seized the 
opportunity to obtain a confirmation of their privileges as the 
price of their help. They even watched with equanimity 
when, in 1360, he wrested the province of Skaania from the 
feeble hands of Magnus of Sweden. But they found that 
success had rendered Waldemar less easy to deal with than 
he had been in the days of his weakness, and they had to 
pay a heavy sum for the renewal of their fishing rights Stil\ 
the relations with Denmark were altogether peaceful wnen, in 
1 36 1, the news arrived that a Danish fleet had sailed to the 
island of Gothland, and that a Danish army had sacked the 
ancient town of Wisby, whose wealth gave rise to the current 
phrase that the pigs ate out of silver troughs. The old 
tradition assigned greed of plunder as the motive for the 
raid. Later writers have suggested that it was merely the 
continuance of the quarrel with Sweden about Skaania, or 
that Waldemar intended to use the central position of Goth- 
land for the purpose of carrying out the ambitious plans of 
Waldemar 11. and Eric Menved. 

The delegates of the Hanse towns were assembled at 
Greifswald when the astounding news arrived. The action 
of Waldemar created a wholly novel problem First war with 
for a mercantile association to deal with. Wisby Waldemar in. 
was subject to Sweden, and it was against Sweden that an 
act of open hostility had been committed. But Wisby was 

434 European History, 1273- 1494 

also a great centre of German trade, its wealth had been 
created by Germans, and it was one of the chief towns of 
the Hanseatic League. It was instinctively felt rather than 
reasoned that it was impossible to allow Waldemar's action 
to pass without active resentment, and that the League must 
justify its existence by undertaking new duties and responsi- 
bilities. The assembly passed a decree forbidding all trade 
and intercourse with Denmark, and then adjourned in order 
to give time for negotiations with Magnus of Sweden and his 
son Hakon, who had been since 1350 independent king of 
Norway in his father's place. On September 7, 1361, the 
second meeting was held, and it was decided to go to war 
with Denmark in alliance with Sweden, Norway, and Hol- 
stein. For the first time a federal tax was imposed, in the 
form of an export duty of fourpence in the pound, which was 
to be levied by all the towns until Michaelmas 1362. 

The Hanse towns had promised to furnish two thousand men 
with the necessary ships, and Sweden and Norway were to do the 
Disastrous same - I n April the Hanseatic fleet sailed to the 
campaign Sound under the command of John Wittenborg, 
ofl362- the burgomaster of Liibeck. The Swedish con- 

tingent failed to appear, but the Germans were persuaded 
by their allies to abandon the projected attack upon Copen- 
hagen and to lay siege to Helsingborg, a strong fortress on 
the coast of Skaania. Too many of the sailors had been 
taken from the ships in order to press the siege, when Walde- 
mar suddenly appeared with the Danish fleet. He at once 
attacked the ships of the League — sunk some, and carried off 
the rest with their cargoes and the remnant of their crews. 
Wittenborg had perforce to abandon the siege, and returned 
home to pay the penalty for failure with his life. The disaster 
was as terrible as it was unexpected, and the towns considered 
themselves lucky to be able to conclude a truce in November 
for fourteen months, during which trade was to be resumed 
and no new charges were to be imposed by the Danish king 
But there was no security that Waldemar would observe 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 435 

his promises, especially when he succeeded in depriving the 
Hanse towns of their allies. Magnus and Hakon had never 
been eager for the war with Denmark, which was really the 
work of the nobles in the Swedish Council. The Council 
had arranged a marriage between Hakon and the daughter 
of the count of Holstein, but Waldemar seized the lady as 
she was on her way to Sweden, and kept her a prisoner until 
the match was broken off In 1363 he persuaded Hakon to 
marry his own daughter Margaret, and thus laid the founda- 
tion for the future union of the three kingdoms. This 
marriage was a serious blow to the League, which seemed to 
be on the verge of dissolution. The Wendish towns had 
been most active in the war, and would have been the chief 
gainers by its successful issue. Upon them inevitably fell 
the chief blame for the disaster. The Prussian towns refused 
to pay the export duty ; they said that they had granted it 
for the protection of the Sound, but the Sound was now less 
protected than ever. It was quite useless to make the obvious 
reply that Lubeck and its neighbours had spent far more and 
lost far more, and that their losses included men as well as 

If Waldemar had behaved with statesmanlike prudence 
and moderation, he might have permanently weakened, if 
not destroyed, the League, which was the chief Temporary 
obstacle in his way. If once the more distant peace, 
towns had been convinced that their interests in Danish 
waters were as secure after defeat as they had been before, 
they would hardly have adhered to an alliance which proved 
costly as well as useless. But Waldemar was eager to deprive 
the German traders of all the privileges they had obtained 
through the weakness of Denmark since the days of Eric 
Menved, and this danger served to keep the Hanse towns 
together in spite of their discouragement and their quarrels 
with each other. Before the truce had expired, Waldemar set 
out at the end of 1363 on a long tour to the principal courts 
of Europe. During his absence the Danish Council agreed 

436 European History \ 1273- 1494 

to prolong the truce, but it seemed almost impossible to 
arrange any permanent peace upon terms that the German 
merchants could accept. It was still doubtful whether the 
towns would give way or venture on a renewal of hostilities, 
when events in Sweden compelled the Danes to moderate 
their demands. The Swedish nobles had long been alienated 
by the feeble government of Magnus. They had resented 
the loss of Skaania and the humiliating conquest of Goth- 
land. Their fierce indignation was roused by the change of 
policy in 1363, when the Holstein alliance was abandoned 
and Hakon was married to Margaret of Denmark. In 1364 
they declared Magnus deposed, and elected in his place 
Albert, the second son of the duke of Mecklenburg, and of 
Euphemia, a sister of Magnus. The elder brother was passed 
over because he had married Ingeborg, another daughter of 
Waldemar in., and the Swedes would have no connection 
with Denmark. A civil war followed, in which the forces of 
Magnus and Hakon were defeated, and the former was taken 
prisoner. The greater part of Sweden acknowledged Albert. 
When Waldemar returned from his travels, he found his 
plans checkmated by this Swedish revolution, and resolved 
to overthrow the new dynasty in alliance with his son-in-law 
Hakon. In order to prepare for this new war, he concluded 
the treaty of Wordingborg in September 1365 with the Hanse 
towns. Freedom of trade through the Sound and a confirma- 
tion of German privileges on the coast of Skaania were 
granted, but only for a period of six years. It was obviously 
a truce rather than a real treaty; neither side was satisfied 
with its terms; and the inevitable struggle between Danish 
and German interests in the Baltic was only postponed. 

That Waldemar, in attacking the new king of Sweden, was 
influenced by wholly selfish motives, is proved by the treaty 
Second which he concluded in July 1366 with the duke 

Danish war. f Mecklenburg. In return for the formal cession 
of Gothland and other considerable territories, he abandoned 
the cause of Magnus and Hakon, and agreed to recognise 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 437 

and support Albert and his successors in the remaining pro 
vinces of Sweden. This unprincipled policy raised Denmark 
to a greater height of power than it had reached since the 
days of Waldemar 11. Emboldened by success, the king did 
not scruple to break his recent agreement with the Hanse 
towns. In the course of 1367 several German ships were 
seized and plundered in the Sound, and increased tolls were 
levied upon vessels resorting to the coast of Skaania for the 
fishing season. Even the distant south-western towns, which 
had taken hardly any part in the previous war, felt that these 
outrages were intolerable, and clamoured for active measures 
in defence of their trade and industry. It is significant of 
the greater unanimity of the League on this occasion that the 
decisive meeting was held, not as usual in a Baltic town, but 
at Cologne. There in November 1367 it was decided to go 
to war with the Danish king; and if any town should hold 
aloof from the common cause, 'its burghers and merchants 
shall have no intercourse with the towns of the German 
Hansa, no goods shall be bought from them or sold to them ; 
they shall have no right of entry or exit, of lading or unlading, 
in any harbour.' A new export duty was imposed for a year, 
and the sum raised was to be divided among the towns in 
proportion to the contingent which each furnished. To avoid 
the quarrels which had followed the last campaign, it was 
expressly enacted that no injury or loss on the part of any 
town should give it a claim upon the others for compensa- 
tion. All privileges or other advantages which should be 
gained in the war were to belong equally to all the members 
of the League. 

It was a formidable array of enemies that Waldemar had 
to face in 1368. His treaty with the duke of Mecklenburg 
had come to nothing, because the Swedes re- Triumph of 
fused to sacrifice their own interests to their new the League, 
dynasty, and would not surrender the stipulated territories. 
So Waldemar had to renew both the alliance with Hakon 
and the war with Albert of Sweden. On the mainland both 

438 European History \ 1273- 1494 

Mecklenburg and Holstein were on the side of his enemies, 
the nobles of Jutland were on the verge of rebellion, and 
now he had provoked the Hanse towns to a new campaign. 
In the presence of these dangers he adopted an extraordinary 
course of action. In April 1368 he placed all his accumu- 
lated treasure upon a ship, and sailed to Pomerania, leaving 
the Danish Council to govern the kingdom during his absence, 
and to carry on the war which he had provoked. For two 
years he wandered about Europe from one court to another, 
while his dominions were overrun by his enemies. The 
Hanseatic fleet appeared in the Sound soon after the king's 
departure, and at once attacked Copenhagen. The town was 
taken and destroyed, and the fortress was occupied by a 
German garrison. From Zealand the victorious traders 
turned to Skaania, and by the end of the year every fortress, 
except the redoubtable Helsingborg, had fallen into their 
hands. It was decided to keep their forces in the field 
during the winter and to prolong the tax on exports for 
another year. In 1369 Helsingborg surrendered after an 
obstinate resistance, and the Danes, attacked also from 
Holstein and Mecklenburg, opened negotiations with the 
Hanse towns. Hakon of Norway had already concluded a 
truce by which all the rights and privileges of German 
Treaty of merchants in his kingdom were confirmed. On 
straisund. May 24, 1370, the Treaty of Stralsund put an 
end to the Danish war. For fifteen years all the castles and 
fortified places on the coast of Skaania were to be held by 
the League, which was to receive two-thirds of the revenue 
of the province in order to cover the cost of their mainten- 
ance. These terms, which transferred the control of the 
Sound and its fisheries from Denmark to the Hansa, were to 
be confirmed by Waldemar as the condition of his return 
to his kingdom. No future king was to be placed 
on the Danish throne without the consent of the Hanse 
towns and until he had confirmed all their privileges and 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 439 

The second Danish war marks an important epoch in the 
history of the Hanseatic League. Not only was it raised to 
the position of an influential power in northern The League 
Europe, but its whole character had undergone at the zenith 
an important change. Hitherto it had been a ° lBpowcr 
mercantile league for the extension and strengthening of 
trade privileges, and for the settlement of trade disputes. 
The decisions of the Cologne assembly in 1377 had super- 
added to this mercantile association a political and military 
alliance. It is true that that alliance was in express terms 
only temporary and for the achievement of an immediate 
object — the protection of the narrow waters from outrage and 
oppression. But the new obligations which success brought 
to the League gave to the Cologne decrees a more permanent 
importance than had been contemplated at the time of their 
adoption. The occupation of the forts on the Sound 
conceded by the treaty of Stralsund, and the necessity of 
constantly watching the changes and struggles in the Scandi- 
navian kingdoms — a necessity which was all the more pressing 
after the Union of Kalmar — compelled the League to main- 
tain an armed force in constant readiness, and to continue 
the collection of a federal revenue for military purposes 
When new towns applied for admission to the League, and 
there were many such applications in the years following the 
Treaty of Stralsund, they had to accept, not only the old 
conditions as to trade, but also the more stringent obligations 
imposed by the assembly at Cologne. Thus the League 
became more concentrated and more highly organised than 
it had been before the war. The federal assemblies were 
more frequent, and their sessions were longer and more full 
of business. Every year there was a general assembly at 
midsummer, but there were also frequent provincial meetings, 
especially of the Wendish towns, which continued to form 
the most central and the most influential unit within the 
League. And not only was the external activity of the 
League greater, but it began to concern itself with the in- 

440 European History, 1273- 1494 

ternal affairs of its members. In the fourteenth century the 
ascendency of the merchants in municipal government was 
threatened by the rise of the artisans in Germany, as it was 
in Florence and other southern towns. The Hanseatic 
League, essentially mercantile in its origin and its aims 
naturally made itself the champion of the old exclusive 
oligarchy. In 1374 a rising took place in Brunswick against 
the ruling council : some of its members were executed, and 
the rest were driven into exile. For this offence Brunswick 
was formally expelled from the League, and its merchants 
were excluded from all the markets under its control. This 
mercantile excommunication was now a formidable weapon, 
and the men of Brunswick had to make humble reparation 
for their democratic aspirations before they could obtain 
their readmission to the confederacy. But in emphasising 
the greater unity and greater influence of the League after 
its victory over Waldemar in., it is imperative to remember 
that there were several defects and weaknesses in its federal 
constitution. The very wide extent over which the towns 
were spread, from the Scheldt to the Gulf of Finland, 
and the jealousy which mercantile rivalry must almost 
inevitably create, rendered any complete real unity of interest 
and purpose almost impossible. There was never any 
assembly at which all the towns were represented, and, in 
fact, it would be difficult to give a precise enumeration of the 
members of the League at any given date. Sometimes 
several towns would combine to give authority to a single 
delegate, but no town considered itself bound to take part 
in the meeting. Not infrequently the delegates would declare 
that their instructions did not allow them to consent to a 
proposal, and that they must refer the matter back to their 
respective town - councils. Hence arose uncertainty and 
delay. But the chief defect was that membership of the 
League was not and could not be the only political obligation 
of the towns. Most of them were subject to some immediate 
authority, usually that of a territorial prince. Thus they had 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 44 1 

a double allegiance, and the two might come into collision 
with each other. The princes might allow their towns to 
gain trading privileges by joining the League, but they were 
not likely to consent to any diminution of their own authority. 
Under such conditions it is wonderful that the League held 
together as long as it did. 

The increased dignity and importance of the Hanseatic 
League after the Treaty of Stralsund are illustrated by the 
action of the emperor. Charles iv., as is shown Char i es IV . 
in the Golden Bull, disapproved of confederations and the 
of towns and of the rapid growth of municipal eague# 
independence. Waldemar ill. was his personal friend, and 
during the recent war the emperor had more than once 
endeavoured to use his influence in behalf of the Danish 
king. But in 1373 Charles had obtained Brandenburg from 
the last Wittelsbach Margrave (see p. 120), and thus acquired 
a new interest of his own in the politics of northern Germany. 
He was now eager to conciliate the League and to obtain 
the privileges which it could give to the towns of his new 
dominion. In 1375 he left Prague to pay a visit to Lubeck, 
where the magnificence of his reception made a profound 
impression on contemporaries. Tradition declared that he 
began his speech in acknowledgment of civic hospitality with 
the words ' My Lords' ; and when the burgomaster shook his 
head to deprecate such a title, the emperor continued : 'You 
are Lords ! The old imperial registers prove that Lubeck is 
one of the five chief towns of the empire ; that your city 
councillors are also imperial councillors ; and that they may 
enter his council without waiting for his permission.' The 
chronicler complacently adds that the five chief towns were 
Rome, Venice, Pisa, Florence, and Lubeck. 

The Treaty of Stralsund was followed by a general restora- 
tion of peace in the north. Waldemar in. returned to his 
kingdom, and obtained the restoration of the Death of 
Mecklenburg conquests by a treaty with Duke Waidemarin. 
Albert, who had established one son on the throne of Sweden, 

442 European History, 1273- 1494 

and now hoped with Waldemar's support to gain Denmark 
for his grandson. In 137 1 the long strife between Sweden 
and Norway came to an end. On condition that Magnus 
and Hakon should abandon all claims to the Swedish crown, 
Albert agreed to release the former from his imprisonment 
and to allow him an annual income till his death, which 
occurred three years later. The most pressing question in 
the north was the succession to Waldemar in Denmark. 
His only son had died in 1363, so that Waldemar was the 
last male of his dynasty. Of his two daughters who had 
lived to become brides, the elder, Ingeborg, had married 
Henry of Mecklenburg, the elder brother of the reigning 
king of Sweden, and the younger, Margaret, had married 
Hakon of Norway. Thus the choice lay between two 
children — Albert, the son of Ingeborg and Henry, and 
Olaf, the son of Hakon and Margaret. The Mecklenburg 
claimant was recognised as his heir by Waldemar, and had 
the support of the Emperor Charles iv. and of the powerful 
count of Holstein. But the Danes had not forgotten the 
rule of the German invaders in the time of Christopher 11. ; 
and when Waldemar died in 1375, they elected the five-year- 
old Olaf as his successor. Both by treaty rights and by 
actual power the Hanse towns were entitled to a voice in the 
decision, and they seem to have preferred the possibility 
of a union between Denmark and Norway to an extension 
of the already formidable power of the House of Mecklen- 
burg. Olaf was acknowledged by the League, and one of 
his first acts was to confirm the provisions of the Treaty of 

In 1380 Hakon of Norway died, and Olaf wore his father's 

crown in addition to that of Denmark. During his minority 

his mother Margaret ruled in both kingdoms. 

g a u "t"alfd ar ~ In 1386 she found it necessary to conciliate the 

the union of count of Holstein by the cession of Schleswig, 

Kalmar. ^.^ ^ ^ be j^ as a fief Qf Denmar k j but 

in other respects her government was so successful, that on 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 443 

her son's death in 1387 she was invited to succeed him by 
the Danes and Norwegians. At the same time she re- 
ceived an offer of the crown of Sweden. The government 
of Albert of Mecklenburg, who had rewarded his German 
followers with lands and offices, had excited great ill-will 
among the Swedish nobles, whose power was more than a 
match for that of the king. The conquest of the distracted 
kingdom proved a comparatively easy task. At Falkoping 
in 1389 Albert was completely defeated, and after seven 
years' imprisonment he could only procure his liberty by 
abdication. Stockholm, aided by forces from Mecklenburg, 
held out for some years ; and the famous association of 
the Vitalien-Bruder, or * Victualling Brothers,' originally 
formed for its relief, became a formidable body of pirates 
in the Baltic. The interference which they caused to trade 
induced the Hanse towns to employ their mediation in 
favour of Margaret, who became queen of the three Scan- 
dinavian kingdoms. Her great ambition was to render this 
union permanent. As she had no surviving child of her 
own, she adopted Eric of Pomerania, the grandson of her 
sister Ingeborg. In 1397 she convened the councils of the 
three kingdoms to Kalmar, and induced them to agree to a 
formal act of union. The three kingdoms were to be 
irrevocably united under the same king, and the election 
of successors to the crown was limited to the descendants 
of Eric. Each state was to retain its own laws and institu- 
tions, but treaties with foreign powers were to be binding 
upon all. The arrangement had one obvious defect. No 
single electing body was created ; and if each kingdom could 
choose a king, even within the limits of a single family, there 
was no security that their choice would fall upon the same 

The fifteenth century was a troubled period in the history 
of northern Europe, but its events are far less interesting 
and far less important than those of the fourteenth century. 
There were two great questions at issue : Whether the Union 

444 European History \ 1273- 1494 

of Kalmar could be permanent, and whether the Hanse 
towns could retain either their unity of action or the pre- 
ponderance in the north which it had given them. Both 
questions remained in doubt during the century, but 
ultimately both were answered in the negative. To main- 
tain the union of the three Scandinavian kingdoms, which 
had no great love for each other, while in two of them a 
powerful noble class had obtained a considerable measure of 
independence, would have required either exceptional good 
fortune or exceptional ability, and the successors of Margaret 
had neither. Even the ' Union Queen ' herself made a 
serious blunder in her later years. Count Gerhard of 
Holstein, to whom she had granted Schleswig, 
tween Den- as a hereditary fief, died in 1404, leaving a young 
mark and son Henry to succeed him. Encouraged by her 

Holstein. . * . «, ,, ., 

previous triumphs, Margaret could not resist the 
temptation of trying to escape from the bargain she had 
made in 1386, and to gain Schleswig for the crown. Various 
claims to the duchy were put forward on behalf of Denmark, 
but the Schauenburg princes were resolute in support of 
Gerhard's son. The struggle lasted for thirty years, and in 
the course of it most of the north German states became 
involved. Margaret died suddenly in 141 2, but Eric of 
Pomerania continued to maintain the claims which his great- 
aunt had put forward with the mingled obstinacy and violence 
which marked his character. The authority of the king of 
the Romans was called in to settle the dispute, and twice 
Sigismund gave a formal decision in favour of the Danish 
crown. But as had happened more than once before, the 
Hanseatic League showed a greater regard for the interests 
of Germany than the German king. Hamburg, closely 
associated with Holstein, from the first supported the House 
of Schauenburg, and gradually Liibeck and the other Hanse 
towns we're involved in the war against Eric. Their inter- 
vention, combined with disturbances in Sweden, turned the 
balance; and in 1435 Adolf of Holstein, who had succeeded 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 445 

his brother Henry in 1428, was recognised as duke of 

The war with Holstein was not only unsuccessful, it also 
involved Eric in serious domestic difficulties. Sweden and 
Norway, which required the constant attention of Deposition 
the king, were left unvisited and unregarded. In of King Eric. 
Denmark, Eric could only induce the nobles to serve in a 
war in which they had little interest by lavish concessions 
which further weakened the royal authority. In all the 
kingdoms discontent was excited by increased taxation and 
by debasement of the coinage. Another grievance was 
furnished by Eric's partiality for his Pomeranian relatives, 
and his avowed desire to secure the succession to his 
cousin, Boguslav. In 1434 the first rising took place in 
Sweden among the peasants of Dalecarlia, but Eric suc- 
ceeded in conciliating Karl Knudson, the leader of the 
nobles, who was appointed Marshal of the kingdom, and 
in 1435 tne Union of Kalmar was confirmed by the Swedish 
diet. But the king's neglect of the duties of government 
had become intolerable, and in 1439 he was formally de- 
posed by the Danish Council. As neither of the other 
kingdoms had the slightest desire to support Eric, this act 
rendered vacant the three Scandinavian thrones. The 
deposed king lived for another twenty years, but he never 
had any chance of recovering the dignity he had forfeited. 

The Danes proceeded in 1439 to offer the crown to 
Christopher of Bavaria, whose mother was a sister of Eric, 
and he accepted it upon conditions which Christopher 
narrowly limited the royal power. One of his ofBavaria - 
first acts was to settle the dispute about Schleswig by 
confirming the duchy to Adolf of Holstein as a hereditary 
fief. The action of Denmark had no binding force upon 
the other kingdoms, but lavish bribes to Karl Knudson and 
the clergy purchased the acceptance of the Swedish diet ; and 
Norway, which had shown less enmity to Eric than the other 
states, was induced to follow the example of its neighbour. 

446 European History, 1273- 1494 

In 1442 Christopher was recognised in the three Scandinavian 
kingdoms, and the Union of Kalmar was continued for 
another generation. In 1446 he strengthened his position 
by marrying Dorothea of Brandenburg, but no heir had been 
born to continue the Bavarian dynasty, when Christopher 
was carried off by a sudden death in January 1448. 

With the death of Christopher the severance of the 
kingdoms seemed to be inevitable. There was no obvious 
Severance of heir to any one of them, and it was hardly pos- 
Sweden. s fo\ Q that they should combine to find the same 
successor. Sweden and Denmark were the first to act, and 
neither paid the slightest regard to the proceedings in the 
other. In Sweden there was a strong party hostile to the 
union ; and an organised demonstration on the part of the 
mob led to the hasty election of Karl Knudson, who had 
been for years the most powerful and wealthy noble of the 
kingdom (June 1448). Meanwhile the Danes had offered 
the crown to Adolf, count of Holstein and duke of Schleswig. 
He refused the offer, but suggested the choice of his sister's 
son, Christian of Oldenburg, who could claim descent from a 
daughter of Eric dipping, the predecessor and father of 
Eric Menved. Christian was accepted, but the conditions 
which were imposed upon him gave the chief control of the 
government to the council of nobles. And he also had to 
pay for his uncle's support by a formal document, in which 
assurance was given that the duchy of Schleswig or south 
Jutland 'shall never be united or annexed to the kingdom of 
Denmark, so that one person shall be lord of both.' In 
Norway, less energetic and independent than the other two 
kingdoms, there was a prolonged struggle as to whether the 
Danish or the Swedish king should be chosen. Karl Knudson 
believed that he had assured his own election, and he actually 
assumed the crown in Trondhjem, but the party which sup- 
ported the Danish connection proved the stronger, and in 
August 1450 the diet decreed the permanent union of 
Denmark and Norway. 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 447 

Denmark and Norway remained united under the Olden- 
burg dynasty until the latter was combined with Sweden by the 
decision of the allies in 1815. It would probably christian 1. 
have been better if Christian 1. had abandoned recovers 
all idea of recovering Sweden. But the Union 
of Kalmar was not to perish without giving rise to a long and 
exhausting struggle. Many of the Swedish nobles were 
jealous of the elevation of Karl Knudson to royal rank, and 
the archbishop of Upsala headed an opposition party which 
appealed for Danish intervention. Christian could not resist 
the temptation of gaining a third crown. In 1457 Karl 
Knudson was forced to flee to Danzig. Christian was crowned 
at Upsala, and his son John or Hans was acknowledged as 
his heir. This success was followed by another conspicuous 
triumph. In 1459 the death of Adolf of Holstein schieswig 
and Schleswig extinguished the male line of the and Holstein - 
chief branch of the House of Schauenburg. Christian could 
advance a double claim to the vacant county and duchy. 
He was the nearest relative of his uncle Adolf on the female 
side, and he could contend that Schleswig as a Danish fief 
escheated to the overlord on the extinction of the family to 
which it had been granted. On the other hand, the surviving 
Schauenburg princes claimed to be the nearest male heirs, 
and they could point to Christian's own pledge in 1448 that 
Schleswig should never be united to the Danish crown. The 
dispute enabled the estates of the two provinces to exercise 
powers which had never hitherto belonged to them. On 
condition that Schleswig and Holstein should remain united, 
and that they should be free to elect any member of the 
family and not be bound to take the successor to the Danish 
throne, they accepted Christian as duke and count in March 
1460. The Schauenburg princes were bought off by a money 
payment. In 1479 the Emperor Frederick in. raised Holstein 
from a county to a duchy, and granted the formal investiture 
to Christian 1. 

Good fortune had suddenly raised the House of Oldenburg 

448 European History, 1273- 1494 

to an extraordinary preponderance of territorial power in the 
north. No previous ruler had succeeded in uniting the 
independence three Scandinavian kingdoms with two consider- 
of Sweden. a ^j e p rov j nces on the mainland. But the real 
strength of Christian 1. was in no way proportioned to its 
appearance. He had purchased every state by concessions 
which sapped the very foundations of the central authority. 
In Sweden especially his kingship was merely nominal. The 
strong national sentiment of the Swedes objected to the 
Union of Kalmar because, in spite of stipulated equality, it 
made their state little more than a province of Denmark. 
The archbishop of Upsala, whose quarrel with Karl Knudson 
had given the crown to Christian, was really more powerful 
than the king. Disputes were inevitable, and in 1467 Karl 
was invited to quit his exile in Danzig and to resume posses- 
sion of the crown. On his death in 1470, his nephew, Sten 
Sture, was proclaimed regent of Sweden. Christian led an 
army to compel his submission, but was completely defeated 
and driven from the kingdom. For the next half century a 
succession of Stures ruled Sweden in practical independence. 
Sweden was not the only territory that was lost to Christian 1. 
In 1469 his daughter Margaret was married to James in. of 
Scotland ; and the Orkneys and Shetlands, which had been in 
the hands of Denmark since the tenth century, were pledged 
to the Scottish king as security for the princess's dowry. As 
the pledge was never redeemed, the islands were to all intents 
and purposes ceded to Scotland. The death of Christian in 
1 48 1 left his dominions to his eldest son John. The new 
king was weakened by having to divide Schleswig and Hol- 
stein with his younger brother Frederick, and by an un- 
successful war which he carried on to extort the submission 
of the independent peasants of Ditmarsh. Thus though he 
was able for a time to recover Sweden and to assume the 
crown, he could not retain his hold upon the kingdom. Sten 
Sture regained the government in 1500, and after his death 
it was transmitted to his successors, Svante Sture and a 

Hanseatic League and Scandinavian Kingdoms 449 

younger Sten. The desperate effort of the next Danish king, 
Christian 11., to restore the Kalmar Union, and the cruelty 
which he displayed in the famous ' blood-bath of Stockholm ' 
only led to the final vindication of Swedish independence by 
Gustavus Vasa. 

Meanwhile the fifteenth century had been a peiiod of 
difficulty and stress to the Hanseatic League. The Union 
of Kalmar in itself constituted a serious danger 
to the north German towns. The privileges c uneofthe 
vhich they had extorted from the Scandinavian Hanseatic 
rulers amounted to a practical monopoly of trade eaKUe * 
and fishing rights along their coasts. The obvious interest 
and duty of a really strong ruler would impel him to re- 
pudiate such restrictions on the freedom of his subjects. 
Fortunately for the League, the Union was never much more 
than nominal. The policy of the Wendish towns was 
steadily directed to place difficulties in the way of the 
Scandinavian rulers, and to encourage every tendency to 
independence in the subject provinces. Thanks to the 
weakness of the successive kings and the turbulent opposi- 
tion of the Swedes to the Union, this policy was successful, 
and the Hanse towns were enabled to retain for a time their 
political and mercantile ascendency in the north. But in 
spite of this the century was on the whole a period of decline 
in the history of the League. The weaknesses which were 
inherent in the coalition from the first became more and 
more visible. Foreign competition, especially that of the 
English, was a constant and increasing source of trouble. 
In the fourteenth century the Germans still had a pre- 
ponderant share of the import and export trade of England. 
In the fifteenth century the native traders steadily set them- 
selves to get the better of the privileged foreigners, and by 
the reign of Henry vn. the English had established a con- 
siderable direct trade, not only with Flanders and Norway, 
but also with the countries on the Baltic. But foreign 
competition was a less serious danger than internal weakness 


450 European History \ 1273- 1494 

and disruption. In the course of the fifteenth century a 
notable change began in the balance of northern trade. At 
first the western towns of the League had been for the most 
part engaged in trade in the North Sea, whereas the eastern 
towns had carried on their trade in both the North Sea and 
the Baltic. In the fifteenth century the western towns, and 
especially those of the Netherlands, began to encroach upon 
the Baltic trade, and entered into rivalry with Liibeck, 
Rostock, Stralsund, and Danzig. This growing importance 
of the western and non-Baltic merchants was completed by 
two changes which could neither be foreseen nor controlled. 
For more than a century the gregarious herrings had made 
the coast of Skaania their favourite summer resort, and in 
consequence this had been the scene of the largest and most 
lucrative fishing industry in Europe. In the middle of the 
fifteenth century the fish made one of those sudden and 
inexplicable changes of habitat, which have more than once 
affected the economic relations of the northern states. 
They ceased to enter the Baltic in any large numbers, and 
transferred themselves to the coast of Holland. The 
privileged position in Skaania for which the Hanse towns 
had struggled so long and so su